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5G Signaling

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Having the right 5G signaling architecture from start is essential for business success.

Modern Communication Service Provider (CSP) networks depend on delivery of signaling messages between the network functions. The right signaling architecture can result in optimal performance and high network reliability. A poor architecture can result in traffic bottlenecks, low performance, or even full network outages.

Communication service providers must consider their signaling architecture as a key and intrinsic component of their network design. Flexibility and transparency is a non-negotiable requirement. The core network signaling strategy must be in place from the start, not tacked on after the network is live.

Nokia offers industry leading technology to provide 5G network signaling.  Our customers enjoy fine tuning of the signaling subsystem to their service scenarios, faster integration with the core network including third party network functions, lower network risk of outage with greater reliability, unified tracing and probing across all encrypted signaling interfaces, simplified network operations, and overall lower total cost of ownership.

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Nokia Core Signaling

What is 5G signaling?

Signaling is the relay of control messages between network functions in a 5G core network. A well designed signaling architecture results in optimum performance with no bottlenecks, balances loads across network functions, and results in high reliability.

It’s possible to deploy both 5G and 4G networks without a signaling strategy, simply by connecting the network elements to each other. Some deployments start this way, only to discover the need of a signaling architecture later – leading to much higher costs than originally anticipated. Addressing the signaling challenge up front means the integration is done only once, and with only one element. This results in overall lower TCO, and a simpler project.

The optimal signaling architecture, especially in 5G networks, must exhibit three fundamental characteristics: Flexibility, Performance, and Cloud-native design. If a 5G network signaling solution lacks any of these, the network may experience outages, traffic blockages, or be expensive to operate.



The signaling system must be able to observe and control all parts of a 5G network, and provide adaptation for a multi-vendor environment, for whatever signaling model the CSP chooses.



The signaling infrastructure must be able to deliver low latency with high throughput across a variety of widely disparate service scenarios.


Cloud-native design

The signaling must be software based, cloud-native, and use web scale IT infrastructure techniques for deployment and operations. It should support private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments.

Service Communication Proxy (SCP) use case

5G Core Load Balancing

CSPs can win new business with advanced offers using 5G’s ultra-low latency, end-to-end slicing and massive scalability. These services rely on a 5G core that uses cloud and IT principles in a flexible, service-based architecture. Managing the signaling between 5G core network functions is critical, especially for load balancing to ensure efficient use of capacity and reliable delivery of services.

Our use case “Ensure reliable services with 5G core load balancing” explains the problem and how the Service Communication Proxy balances the load in the 5G Core to maximize efficiency and ensure network stability.

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Use case: 5G Core load balancing

How can I deploy the best 5G Signaling?

Agile rules processing (A.R.T.)

Nokia’s Agile Rules Technology (A.R.T.) combines the benefits of general-purpose and hard-coded rules engines, without any of their drawbacks. It models the call flow and data requirements of a fundamental set of telecom use cases that represent key business models. Backed by over 150 patents, A.R.T. provides excellent run-time efficiency by anticipating and caching key data requirements of each call flow.

Read our white paper to discover how A.R.T. delivers high performance and extreme flexibility across a variety of Nokia products, including Signaling. A.R.T. is included in our Nokia CSD and Nokia Monetization products.

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White paper: Agile Rules Technology (A.R.T.)

Why does 5G need a service mesh?

Web-scale providers use service meshes in cloud native deployments to solve critical problems, including scaling, interworking, and fault isolation. For the 5G service-based architecture, service meshes bring a new and fresh approach.

Service meshes address the challenge of how to automate, secure, scale, optimize, as well as simplify the communications layer between 5G network functions, also known as services. These services must be deployed across a multi-cloud infrastructure distributed over the core, region, as well as the edge of the network to provide users and applications with the connectivity they need.

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White paper: Why does 5G need a service mesh?

Evaluation of signaling service mesh

A signaling service-mesh is a set of comprehensive tools to facilitate microservice architectures by providing a secure, reliable, and resilient communications layer. This solution fits the requirements of 3GPP standardized 5G Cores and can handle the delivery of signaling requests for the cloud-native 5G deployment.

In this joint whitepaper by Nokia and SK Telecom, the SCP’s service-mesh concepts, capabilities and implementations are described for cloud-native 5G deployment. Also, the paper documents the SCP interoperability with SK Telecom’s 5G PoC network.

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White paper: Evaluation of a Service-mesh based SCP for 5G Core Networks

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