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5G Core (5GC)

Deploy a cloud-native mobile core for 5G New Radio (5G NR), so that you can innovate, execute and pivot to new opportunities

Yesterday's networks were built around predictability of demand. Tomorrow's networks need to be built for unpredictability.

The rise in the number of connected devices, the need for always-on connectivity, and the thirst for new services and applications means the Communications Service Provider’s (CSP’s) business and network must undergo a transformation. The heart of that transformation is within the mobile core network, which delivers the necessary performance for new use cases and ensures the best return on investment.  

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5G Standalone (5G SA) New Radio and Core (5G NR, 5GC) require unprecedented levels of automation across an end-to-end network to fulfill the needs of new services and applications. The 5G Core Network must be flexible, programmable and distributed in nature, so that it provides the necessary agility to shorten time-to-market and provides the utmost performance and efficiency gains. No longer a matter of selling the same service to everyone, the 5G Standalone Core differentiates the service provider, because 5G's value is in varied custom services delivered from the Core.

What is the 5G Standalone Core? (5G SA 5GC)

Unlocking 5G’s full opportunity requires 5G Standalone (5G SA) and a cloud-native architecture in the 5G Core Network (5GC). Nokia's core is designed as an inherent cloud-native architecture. Network functions are deployed as micro-services, where business logic is delivered as small, modular stateless services. The 5G Core’s network functions can be moved to the edge of the network, satisfying the low latency demands of critical machine type communication.    

Nokia cloud-native core’s open, modular structure, coupled with 5G Standalone’s service based architecture (SBA) and service mesh, make it practical to introduce future network functions and allow any function to be implemented and scaled rapidly, whenever and wherever required.

The challenges of 5G

5G core (5GC) delivers ultra-reliable connectivity and low latency performance, which are critical to the success of the next phase of Industry 4.0’s industrial revolution. As the core is at the heart of answering these challenges, the core must evolve. A CSP’s challenges in achieving this transformation include:

  • How to profit from opportunity with a flexible core that embraces openness and the new ecosystem that will spring from the 5G revolution.
  • How to deploy without limits onto bare metal or any cloud, move network functions to where best placed, and adopt slicing to build virtual networks with security and finely tuned SLAs.
  • How to evolve with confidence for lowest possible risk while maintaining reliability and protecting the CSP’s brand value, even while proceeding to disrupt the market with innovative offers.

5G’s challenges

How to address 5G's challenges

How to move from 4G EPC or 5G NSA to 5G SA?

How should a CSP deploy a 5G Standalone architecture? What is the best path from 4G EPC or 5G NSA to 5G SA? CSP network strategists must consider these questions when planning how they will deliver 5G’s full potential.

Automation in the 5G Core Network (5GC)

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.

Core Automation

Security in the 5G Core Network (5GC)

Requirements for security and data protection are increasingly stringent. 5G architecture’s complexity and new services heighten the need for strong security, because of 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. 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, and NetGuard security solutions. 

Voice Core for Vo5G, VoNR, VoLTE, VoWiFi, and Fixed

An IMS-based voice core is required to ensure voice is securely and reliably provided to devices, when 5G New Radio (5G NR) is deployed using 3GPP’s options NSA3x and/or SA2. In the case of NSA3x, voice is delivered as Voice over LTE (VoLTE), with data service remaining in 4G & 5G. In the case of SA2, voice is delivered as either VoLTE using EPS fallback, which is particularly useful when the CSP has deployed islands of 5G NR surrounded by 4G LTE. Or when 5G NR is broadly deployed in a geographic area, voice is delivered as Voice over 5G New Radio (VoNR), with voice and data remaining in 5G.

VoLTE-VoNR

Our customers deployments

5G Core Network deployments

Our people understand the 5G architecture’s challenging network and operations, and CSPs’ new business opportunities, because of our global footprint and broad portfolio, including years of hard-earned experience and ecosystem engagements.  Learnings are applied from hundreds of cloud deployments, to ensure the 5G Standalone core network is tuned for cloud, operable, and secure.  

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.  

Nokia proudly celebrates that CSPs and Enterprises all over the world are partnering with us to deliver the extraordinary. Learn more about these deployments. 

Nokia 5G Standalone core deployments

Nokia 5G Core Network solution

Cloud-native architecture

Our mobile core’s software delivers the flexibility, scalability, and performance CSPs need for mobile broadband, IoT/MTC, and the 5G programmable world. It makes the mobile core network more flexible, efficient, and open. It helps you reduce costs, add agility, and meet the demands of new communications services. Our cloud-native 5G Standalone core (5G SA 5GC) is built from the ground up using Webscale/IT techniques, aligned with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s practices.  

Nokia's cloud-native core network implements a layered architecture in which not only are the user and control planes separated, but cloud-native network functions (CNFs) are state-efficient and stateless. A common data layer stores subscriber and session information, creating a very flexible network in which any CNF has access to all data, whenever required and from any location.    

The network also becomes more robust because in case of a failure or software upgrade, a replacement CNF can be switched in, which has instant access to the same data to provide continuity of service. This simplified arrangement enables easy and massive scaling, and significantly reduces signaling traffic.

5G’s technical considerations

   

Core network slicing

CSPs use network slicing to create and run separate networks on shared cloud infrastructure. These independent networks enable service-specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for connectivity, mobility, capacity, security, redundancy and performance.  

The cloud-native mobile core is the anchor of 4G and 5G network slices, because it controls device subscriptions and slice selection. The core is responsible for its sub-slice and the instantiation and configuration of the required core network functions. The core network functions’ deployment depends on the attributes of the specific core slice, such as coverage area, throughput, latency, resource sharing level, number of user equipment, etc.  

Nokia’s automated network slicing provides the operations and automation to configure, orchestrate, secure and deliver slicing’s demanding dynamic and stringent network services.

A1 Austria and Nokia piloting 4G/5G network slicing

      

CI/CD DevOps and DelOps

Unlike Webscale’s and IT’s relatively narrow environments, CSPs have a much broader environment in which to apply CI/CD, such as multiple domains, third-party software, and variation in cloud platforms. DelOps is Nokia’s unique approach to realizing benefits of DevOps-style iterative software development and delivery, but in a manner that is specific to the telecommunications environment. DelOps is DevOps reimagined by Nokia to deal with the complexity of the CSP’s environment. It focuses on what makes CI/CD different for CSPs, which is the delivery and operational stages — thus DelOps. It is open for use with CI/CD frameworks coming from Nokia, the CSP’s own developed framework, or third-party frameworks. 

API-based service innovation

Nokia Network Exposure Function (NEF) and our Open Ecosystem Network provide CSPs with a robust platform and third-party application developer community for creating new services. It consolidates and securely presents unified access to the API framework, for your developers, third-party developers, and enterprise self-care of their own services.   The API framework is realized with a plug-in concept that enables creating API-based services across 4G and 5G, including multi-vendor cores, and O-RAN’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). 

Core networks on public and hybrid clouds

Take advantage of public cloud infrastructure, automation, analytics, and innovation. There are many benefits of deploying your core network on public cloud, or across hybrid private/public clouds, including fast time-to-market, investment agility, quicker operations, and new business opportunities with enterprises.

Video: Nokia core on any cloud

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. It helps resolve the mobile core’s challenges, because it is:

  • Done right, using cloud-native architecture and infrastructure-agnostic design. Deploy it on any cloud – private, public or hybrid cloud, centralized or edge cloud, with an optimized performance footprint for any deployment model.
  • Done now, equipped with extreme automation, it simplifies complexity with the latest technology to boost the top line and reduce costs. Open and programmable, it creates an innovation engine for a strategic business advantage – today.
  • Made real, delivering on stringent reliability & quality requirements, because it is created & delivered with our broad portfolio and global experience, including hundreds of cloud deployments and dozens of 5G Standalone Core customers.
Core architecture

Learn more about the 5G Core Network

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