Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is making their way into the fifth generation of mobile communications. For example, 3GPP is embracing the concept of Control-User Plane Separation (a cornerstone concept in SDN) in the 5G core and the Radio Access Network (RAN). In this paper we introduce a flexible, programmable, and open-source SDN platform for heterogeneous 5G RANs. The platform builds on an open protocol that abstracts the technology-dependent aspects of the radio access elements, allowing network programmers to deploy complex management tasks as policies on top of a programmable logically centralized controller. We implement the proposed solution as an extension to the 5G-EmPOWER platform and release the software stack (including the southbound protocol) under a permissive APACHE 2.0 License. Finally, the effectiveness of the platform is assessed through three reference use cases: active network slicing, mobility management, and load-balancing.
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