Companies are one step closer to 5G commercialization. In June 2018, Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom successfully demonstrated their jointly-developed 5G Next-Generation Core (5G NC) based on 3GPP Release-15 standards.
5G NC operates independently of the LTE network and makes new features available. 5G NC was developed with a new service-based architecture that introduces software features, such as Control and User Planes Separation, Network Slicing and Virtualized Network Functions (VNF) deployed on containers, the latest in virtualization technology. This is the first trial of 5G NC in the world that implements VNFs based on 3GPP standards-compliant, service-based architecture.
As diverse services with complex requirements continue to emerge, the new 5G NC is able to identify service types and process the traffic accordingly. For example, the transmission of sensitive financial and biometric information can be protected through advanced security functions, such as quantum cryptography. In addition, ultra-high-resolution images can be transmitted faster, while ultra-low latency can be guaranteed for telemedicine.
Moving beyond proprietary technologies, the 5G NC control plane includes the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) international standard, which has been newly adopted by 3GPP. HTTP enables a seamless connection between the core network and web-based services and allows third parties such as start-ups to create new 5G services easily. As a result, they can provide an optimal service to customers, leveraging network-related information, such as location and data, throughout.
5G NC is also characterized by its ability to guarantee both operational stability and unprecedented user experience. This is achieved by automatically selecting the best path between device and internet and by adding intelligent automatic management to restore the network instantaneously if issues occur.
“Based on this trial, SK Telecom has successfully verified the essential core network technologies for 5G commercialization,” said Park Jin-hyo, Executive Vice President and Head of ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom. “We will continue to enhance our technology development to enable truly innovative 5G services.”
“The completion of 5G NC with SK Telecom is a significant step towards 5G commercialization,” said Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “The tests have shown how fast, flexible, efficient and user-centric the network can become with Next-Generation Core.”
SK Telecom and Samsung have jointly submitted more than 30 5G NC contributions to 3GPP standardization, and have completed several 5G NC proof-of-concept activities. The two companies are collaborating to develop and verify 5G NC solutions, expected to be deployed in 2019.
In February 2017, as part of its broader commercial 5G portfolio Samsung Electronics announced the readiness of its NC solution and a library of 5G VNFs. The solution has since been upgraded to integrate new features defined in the 3GPP standards Release-15. It supports both 4G and 5G core functions.