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Nokia 5G Core (5GC)

Free the innovation within your network, so you can automate, customize and monetize your services with total confidence


5G is your opportunity to become the company you were meant to be. But how do you serve everyone and everything, while maximizing returns? The answer lies in rethinking the core. Our 5G Standalone Core frees the innovation within your network, so you can automate, customize and monetize your core with total confidence. Nokia proudly celebrates that CSPs and Enterprises all over the world are partnering with us to deliver the extraordinary.

What is 5G Core? Is 5G worth it?

The 5G 3GPP architecture relies upon the 5G Standalone (5G SA) New Radio and the 5G Standalone Core (5G SA Core). The architectural design of Nokia's core is inherently cloud-native: its open, modular structure, coupled with 5G Service Based Architecture (5G SBA) make it practical to introduce future network functions and allow any function to be implemented and scaled, rapidly, whenever, and wherever required. Network functions are deployed as micro-services, where business logic is delivered as small, modular stateless services. The 5GC SA network functions can be moved to the edge of the network, satisfying the low latency demands of critical machine type communication by providing unprecedented levels of automation across an end-to-end network to fulfill the needs of new services and applications.

Our 5G Standalone Core enables CSPs and Enterprises to reliably consume 5G in a way that increases their operational efficiency and delivers compelling new services. The 5G edge cloud’s low-latency real-time data enhances enterprises’ process automation, industrial controls and co-creation, enabling companies to boost efficiency and productivity while ensuring safety and security. Our 5G Network Exposure Function (5G NEF) helps external developers to access and consume allowed APIs. This ensures the creation of new applications to meet the evolving needs of consumers and businesses.

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What are 5G Core network functions?

Related questions include: What are the 5G core components? What is the core IP network? What is included in the core network? What is the 5G network architecture? What is the difference between 4G and 5G network architecture?

The 5G Core network functions, shown in light-blue for 5G SA2, resemble the 4G Core network elements, in that they provide familiar capabilities for mobility management, routing, security, policy control, charging, and subscriber data management. However, because the 5G core architecture is built using cloud-native technology including a 5G Service Based Architecture (5G SBA), the 5G core network elements take on a more software-based naming of network functions.

Furthermore, new capabilities are introduced in 5G Standalone Core, including:

Click to enlarge Network function summary

What are 5G’s challenges?

What are the challenges when shifting to a cloud-native architecture and a service based architecture (SBA)? The 5G SA core (5GC) delivers ultra-reliable connectivity and low latency performance, which are critical to Industry 4.0, massively scaling Internet of Things (IoT), and the blending of physical and virtual experiences. The challenges in achieving this transformation include:

  • How to profit with services such as network slicing, which enables many applications and services to be used by many people and things.
  • How to simplify with a core geared for extreme automation, efficient operations, prevents errors from affecting productivity, and quickly scales larger and smaller when matching resources and demand.
  • How to open the core, so that it works across multi-cloud, serves any access, and is deployable anywhere including edge cloud. With the core’s open APIs, CSPs can create new services with their customers and partners.
  • How to be confident that the core delivers financial, operational and strategic benefits, while ensuring the transition is efficient, effective and secure.

Read Omdia’s report, assessing the competitiveness of nine 5G Core vendors

How to evolve from 5G NSA to 5G SA?

5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) enables a CSP’s quick launch of enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) to increase subscribers’ bandwidth and increase cell density. However, a CSP’s or Enterprise’s increased profitability relies on 5G Standalone’s (5G SA’s) innovative use-cases and new services. For example, moving the core’s User Plane Function (UPF) to the edge cloud for the sake of low latency, creating a network slice to optimize network resources while ensuring custom service quality metrics, or deploying a core for ultra-reliable mission-critical services.

CSPs need to plan for the co-existence and smooth evolution from 5G NSA to 5G SA. How should the 5G SA network be architected and deployed? How should a CSP evolve from 4G LTE to 5G SA? What was learned when evolving from physical to cloud to cloud-native, and from 4G to 5G NSA to 5G SA? Explore our in-depth materials and make your plans to deliver 5G’s full potential.

How to secure the 5G core?

5G Core security, data protection and privacy are increasingly important with the evolution of networks to 5G NR, because of the 5G Core’s critical role in enabling mission-critical applications, Industry 4.0, IoT services, and consumer personalization. Trust is a vital attribute for these applications and services.

Nokia takes the security built into our products seriously. Our 5G Core is designed for privacy and security, with layered protection based on defense-in-depth design and zero-trust principles and tested against 5G-specific use cases. CSPs get full control to secure their 5G services, thanks to the pervasive and automated security management built into our design practices, 5G core software, XDR security software, and NetGuard Cybersecurity Dome.

How does 5G Core network automation allow further benefits?

Previously, mobile core and telco cloud were automated for the sake of reducing costs, using a telco network element approach. This created islands of automation, which manipulated the element management systems.

The introduction of 5G's architecture and Web-scale/IT's cloud techniques changes the automation equation, enabling an automation framework based on the exposure of automation elements to each other via APIs and the creation of closed-loops with feedback. AI/ML can be used to achieve further benefits, such as automated avoidance of predicted faults.

What is network slicing?

Network Slicing is a key capability that allows CSPs to monetize services by creating discrete network slices that meet required levels of performance for individual customers and services. CSPs use core network slicing to create and run separate networks on shared cloud infrastructure. These independent networks enable Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for connectivity, mobility, capacity, security, redundancy and performance.

The mobile core is the anchor of network slices, because it controls a device’s subscription and slice selection. 5G and its cloud-native automation enables this – ensuring one network can be shared across many customers, allowing a CSP to deliver resources to meet the exacting needs of their customers, without impacting others.

How to deploy 5G standalone core on public cloud and hybrid cloud?

Take advantage of 5G standalone core on public cloud & hybrid cloud infrastructure, automation, analytics, and innovation. Extending the 5G core to edge cloud and across any cloud helps enable fast time-to-market, investment agility, quicker operations, and new business opportunities with enterprises.

Technical demo: Automatic network slice creation in Nokia's 5G Core

What will Telecom Software as a Service (Telecom SaaS) mean for the 5G Core?

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and Enterprises will benefit from 5G Core SaaS with a faster time to value, greater business agility, and better cost management. Core networks are highly complex and must be resilient and reliable. Yet Telecom SaaS changes the way core networks are deployed and operated. Therefore, a 5G Core SaaS must be dependable and operate in a manner that fits the CSP’s or Enterprise’s needs. We built our 5G Core SaaS per 3GPP architecture and slicing, so that you can choose to deploy an entire core, or just a portion, or extend your existing network capabilities. We invite you to explore the nearby 5G Core SaaS materials.

See Nokia 5G Core deployment case studies

CSPs can be confident our 5G Standalone Core provides the lowest possible risk while ensuring reliability and protecting their brand value, even as they proceed to disrupt the market with innovative offers. Explore these CSPs, and more:  

  • T-Mobile US, with the world’s first nationwide 5G Standalone service  
  • Telia Nordics, evolving to 5G and rolling out the 5G Standalone Core  
  • DISH Wireless US, with the world’s first 5G Standalone deployed in AWS’s cloud  
  • Telenet Belgium, deploying the 5G Standalone Core onto Google Anthos

Why choose Nokia for 5G Standalone Core?

Nokia cloud-native mobile core is in live commercial service, serving 5G Standalone (5G SA) and 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA), plus 4G, 2G/3G, unlicensed wireless, and fixed access. Our core enables CSPs’ profitability, because it:

  • Uses cloud-native architecture and infrastructure-agnostic design. Deploy it on any cloud – private, public or hybrid cloud, centralized or edge cloud, with optimized performance for any deployment model.
  • Is equipped with extreme automation and it simplifies 5G’s complexity with the latest technology to boost your revenues and reduce costs. Open and programmable, it creates an innovation engine for a strategic business advantage – today.
  • Delivers on stringent reliability & quality requirements. It is created & delivered with our broad portfolio and global experience, proven across a leading number of 5G Standalone Core and cloud deployments.

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