The 5G NextGen, NG core network will play a key role in enabling the performance of the 5G mobile communications system.
Defining the next-generation architecture is the responsibility of the 3GPP's System Architecture (SA) Technical Specification Group on Service and System Aspects.
The study phase, completed last year in 2016, outlines what this new core network, known as NG Core, or NextGen core network, will look like.
5G NextGen NG core network basics
The requirements for the network for 5G will be particularly diverse. In one instance, very high bandwidth communications are needed, and in other applications there is a need for exceedingly low latency, and then there are also requirements for low data rate communications for machine to machine and IoT applications.
In amongst this there will be normal voice communications, Internet surfing and all the other applications that we have used and become accustomed to using.
As a result the 5G NextGen network will need to accommodate a huge diversity in types of traffic and it will need to be able to accommodate each one with great efficiency and effectiveness. Often it is thought that type suits all approach does not give the optimum performance in any application, but this is what is needed for the 5G network.
To achieve the requirements for the 5G network a number of techniques are being employed. These will make the 5G network considerably more scalable, flexible and efficient.
- Software defined networking, SDN: Using software defined networks, it is possible to run the network using software rather than hardware. This provides significant improvements in terms of flexibility and efficiency
- Network functions virtualisation, NFV : When using software defined networks it is possible to run the different network function purely using software. This means that generic hardware can be reconfigured to provide the different functions and it can be deployed as required on the network.
- Network slicing: As 5G will require very different types of network for the different applications, a scheme known as network slicing has been devices. Using SDN and NFV it will be possible to configure the type of network that an individual user will require for his application. In this way the same hardware using different software can provide a low latency level for one user, whilst providing voice communications for another using different software and other users may want other types of network performance and each one can have a slice of the network with the performance needed.
The performance required for the 5G NextGen network has been defined by the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance). The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance is a mobile telecommunications association of mobile operators, vendors, manufacturers and research institutes and by using the experience of all parties, it is able to develop the strategies for the next generation mobile networks, like that for 5G.
As such the 5G NG, NextGen core network will be able to utilise far greater levels of flexibility to enable it to serve the increased and diverse requirements placed upon it by the radio access network and the increased number of connections and traffic.
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