5G network transformation to achieve new heights of innovation
Dec 13, 2017
5G Americas announces new report on network operation models and architecture
BELLEVUE, Wash. – December 13, 2017 – 5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, today announced the publication of 5G Network Transformation to outline the new heights of innovation in transforming both the radio and core networks for 5G technologies and the work being done by numerous organizations worldwide.
“Automation and orchestration will alter how future networks are built,” noted Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas. “Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and adoption of new 5G technologies will transform network operation models and business economics leading to the creation of widely distributed, highly dense, high bandwidth mobile networks.”
The network architecture for 4G is connection-oriented and based on centralized mobility anchor points. With the exploding demand anticipated for new use cases and services, it is clear that a new network architecture is needed to satisfy the scalability, latency, or overall experience required in future networks. Fortunately, there is momentum and innovation in the industry toward meeting the requirements of 5G use cases. The new 5G architecture brings improved radio units with a much faster air interface when compared to LTE and a new service based architecture for the core.
To support and enable both the known and unknown 5G use cases, a 5G Next Generation Core (NG-Core or NGC) and 5G New Radio (NR) are being clearly defined and standardized. The whitepaper focuses on 5G NGC architecture, which is defined as service-based and the interaction between network functions are represented in two ways: network functions within the 5G Control Plane (5GC); and network functions connecting to the 5G control plane from the RAN network. Network functions within the 5G CP shall only use service-based interfaces for their interactions.
Key aspects in 5G network transformation explained in the report:
- 5G architecture brings improved radio units with a much faster air interface when compared to LTE and a new service-based architecture for the core
- 5G promises ubiquitous wireless coverage. Radios leveraging licensed and/or unlicensed spectrum, small cells, macro LTE eNodeBs, fiber, microwave, leased Ethernet, or satellite backhaul 5G architecture bring improved radio units with a much faster air interface when compared to LTE
- Functions will be involved in providing network services; each service will have certain characteristics, such as QoS or Mobility. These services can be assigned to dedicated and/or shared network slices. Each network slice will be realized by creating one or more virtual networks, each of them with certain performance characteristics. User-subscribed services will be mapped to the slices
- With the potentially infinite number of network slices that will be needed, a strong Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI) will be necessary
- Orchestration, analytics and automation will play a key role in transforming a network to support and run the 5G network
- Separation of the user plane from the control plane is one of the key technological changes in the path to 5G evolution. Considering that 5G use cases and deployment architectures may lead to significant wireless bandwidth densities, it’s clear that distribution of the traffic towards the edge is imperative for 5G networks
The result of the new network architecture will be a core that supports the numerous use cases posed by 5G. “5G Core technology enhancements will first show up in the 4G Core and will be used to inform and guide the development of other 5G standards and technologies,” said Arun Rajagopal, Technology Development Strategist at Sprint and co-leader of the project. “Some of the technology components are already in place, and key projects are underway as pre-standard technology demonstrators.”
“5G system architecture has to be highly adaptable to meet the performance expectations to serve new and legacy use cases, services, business models, infrastructure usage approaches and radio access needs that will emerge with 5G,” stated Jeff Collins, Director of 5G at Ericsson and co-leader of the project. “The revolution towards the 5G innovation engine is well underway.”
5G Network Transformation was written by co-leaders Jeff Collins of Ericsson and Arun Rajagopal of Sprint and representatives from member companies on 5G Americas’ Board of Governors who participated in the development of this white paper. The whitepaper is available for free download.
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