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5G Core (5GC)

With the right core network, you have unlimited capacity to profit on opportunities, with the confidence to succeed.

5G is your opportunity to become the company you were meant to be. Pivot to new opportunities with 5G Core (5GC) from Nokia.

Nokia 5G Standalone Core enables you to:

  • Change the game

  • Lead the way

  • Create what’s next


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The 5G architecture relies upon the 5G Standalone (5G SA) New Radio and the 5G Standalone Core (5G SA Core). It requires unprecedented levels of automation across an end-to-end network to fulfill the needs of new services and applications. The 5G SA 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 it enables varied custom services delivered from the Core.

What is the 5G core?

The opportunity created by the 5G architecture requires 5G Standalone (5G SA) and its 5G core network architecture. 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 SA Core 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.

Nokia 5g core

eBook: Read about our 5G Standalone Core

What are 5G’s challenges?

CSPs ask, what are the 5G challenges when shifting to a 5G core network architecture? The 5G SA 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 5G 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

What is the difference between standalone and non-standalone 5G?

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.

Standalone and non-standalone 5G


Webinar: 5G Standalone - why, how, and how fast?

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

5G core security

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.

Due to 5G architecture complexity as well as specialized protocols and interfaces used in the communications industry, protecting against security threats is well beyond the capabilities of traditional IT security vendors.

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 security software, and NetGuard security solutions. 

5G Core Security

eBook:  Cyber security in 5G with NetGuard XDR

eBook: Cyber security in 5G with NetGuard XDR

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

5G standalone (5G SA) networks often deliver Voice over 5G (Vo5G) beginning with Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and then transition to Voice over New Radio (VoNR). The changeover occurs either when there is sufficient 5G coverage to minimize fallback to 4G LTE’s VoLTE, or it begins with VoNR for greenfield CSPs who lack much 4G LTE coverage. In the case of 5G SA Core, 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. When 5G NR is broadly deployed in a geographic area, voice is delivered as VoNR, with voice and data remaining in 5G.

Even 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) requires IMS-based VoLTE, because there is no fallback to 3G. Consequently, any CSP deploying 5G and including voice, relies upon IMS for VoNR, VoLTE, etc. In the case of 5G NSA, voice is delivered as VoLTE, with data service remaining in 4G & 5G.


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. 

Telenet Belgium, Google Anthos & Nokia deploy 5G Standalone Core

T-Mobile - 5G Standalone

News: T-Mobile US launches world’s first nationwide service for 5G Standalone

Nokia and DISH to deploy first 5G standalone core network in the public cloud with AWS

News: DISH Wireless deploys Nokia 5G SA Core on AWS EKS public cloud

Telia CTO talks 5G evolution and rolling out Nokia 5G SA Core

Nokia 5G Core Network solution

5G core architecture

Our 5G core architecture’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 5G core architecture implements control and user plane separation (CUPS), and cloud-native network functions (CNFs) are state-efficient and stateless. A common data layer stores subscriber and session information, creating a very flexible 5G core architecture 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 core 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 5G Core network functions. The 5G 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 core network slicing provides the operations and automation to configure, orchestrate, secure and deliver slicing’s demanding dynamic and stringent network services.

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

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. 

Technical demo: Nokia automated core networks solution testing using Test Automation Framework (TAF)

Technical demo: Nokia Continuous Delivery (NCD) solution overview


Infographic: CI/CD services for modern agile cores

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). 

Vanishing boundaries between IT & Telco with 5G voice APIs

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 multicloud helps enable fast time-to-market, investment agility, quicker operations, and new business opportunities with enterprises.


Webinar: Deploying the 5G core in the cloud: A guide to helping CSPs understand market trends and assess their options

Technical demo: Nokia 5G Core deployed on public cloud

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.

Paper: Innovate and execute with a simplified 5G core


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 Service Based Architecture (SBA) and service mesh, the network elements take on a more software-based naming of network functions.

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

  • Broadband Network Gateway, for convergence with wireline networks
  • 5G core signaling, including the Network Repository Function, Service Communication Proxy, Security Edge Protection Proxy, and Binding Support Function
  • Network Data Analytics Function, for extraction, processing and secure provision of data analytics for AI/ML applications
  • Slice management, including the Network Slice Selection Function.

Further information is provided in the linked pages, found below in “Explore our related products and solutions.”

Core architecture

Explore our related products and solutions

Learn more about the 5G Core Network

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