Your Core Network is the Heart of the 5G Transformation

Yesterday’s networks were built around the predictability of demand. Tomorrow’s networks need to be built for unpredictability. The heart of that transformation is within your core network.

Your Core Network is the Heart of the 5G Transformation

Content Summary

The 5G opportunity
Making the journey from 4G to 5G
Innovating 5G services with voice
Network slicing supports profitable CSP growth
Open, programmable 5G for innovative services
Deploy on any cloud: private, public or hybrid
Provide solid security in 5G
The power of DelOps: continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD)
Replace silos with an automation framework
Simplify industry-specific services for easy adoption by enterprises
Nokia 5G core helps CSPs to profit from opportunity

The 5G opportunity

Using more and more connected devices, subscribers need always-on connectivity. And to meet their growing thirst for new services, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are transforming their networks, operations, and business processes. The 5G core sits at the heart of that transformation.

The 5G core must be flexible, programmable, and distributed to provide the agility, short time-to-market, high performance, and extreme efficiency that CSPs need.

The 5G core must also differentiate the CSP because success is no longer based on simply selling the same few services to everyone. Instead, 5G’s value comes from the variety of customized services delivered by the core to everyone and everything.

Making the journey from 4G to 5G

With 4G as their start point, CSPs need a straightforward evolution path to 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) and 5G Standalone (5G SA).

NSA3x service relies on simultaneous connectivity supplied by the 4G LTE eNodeB radio and the 5G gNodeB or 5G New Radio (5G NR). These radios are supported by the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) with moderate enhancements to its MME, S/P-GW, HSS, and PCRF. This enables a mobile device to select a cell type, as well as 4G LTE or 5G NR, according to the CSP’s policies for PLMN/RAT priority, frequency priority, signal quality, and service type.

Nokia provides a common core, in which the same instances support an EPC and a 5G Core. This enables a 5G SA2 core to be deployed as an upgrade to an existing 5G NSA3x core or as a newly deployed 5G SA2 core. Either way, interworking and mobility across 4G, 5G NSA3x, and 5G SA2 require some functions to be deployed in common, namely UDM/HSS, PGW-User Plane, and UPF, and S/PGW-Control Plane and SMF. A software upgrade of the 5G NSA3x gNodeB is also needed to run NSA+SA simultaneously in one cell.

With 4G as their start point, CSPs need a straightforward evolution path to 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) and 5G Standalone (5G SA).

Innovating 5G services with voice

Voice communications are an essential component of CSPs’ bundled offers. Not only do subscribers expect a voice service, but voice also plays a role in many new 5G services.

Voice communications are provided by IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) for both Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over New Radio (VoNR). With 5G NSA3x, voice is delivered as VoLTE while data is delivered by 4G and 5G. With 5G SA2, voice is delivered as either VoLTE or VoNR. Introducing VoNR is more straightforward if the CSP has already deployed LTE and VoLTE.

VoLTE can use Evolved Packet System (EPS) fallback, which is particularly useful when the CSP has islands of 5G NR coverage surrounded by 4G LTE. However, when 5G NR is deployed broadly across an area, voice is best delivered as VoNR, with voice and data remaining in 5G.

Nokia IMS delivers field-proven, efficient and robust voice and multimedia services with any access, using one voice core.

Nokia IMS delivers field-proven, efficient and robust voice and multimedia services with any access, using one voice core.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Bundle reliable voice as a component of consumer and enterprise mobility, as well as new 5G services, including robotics, IoT, and more.
  • Deliver programmable experiences using voice as the most natural form of human communication. CSPs can use API-based service innovation to create new applications and services.
  • Offer converged services by enabling product planners and marketing departments to integrate voice across any access: Fixed, 2G/3G centralized services, VoWiFi, VoLTE, and VoNR.

Network slicing supports profitable CSP growth

Network slicing enables CSPs to provide many new services using the same physical infrastructure. By creating multiple virtual networks, or network slices, with specific requirements, CSPs profit from an efficient, cost-effective way to package fixed, 4G, and 5G capabilities into services differentiated by Service Level Agreement (SLA).

5G network slices are anchored in the core, which uses its Network Slice Selection Function (NSSF) to control a device’s slice subscription and selection. The end-to-end network slice, including the core, can be tuned to deliver precise performance parameters, such as coverage area, throughput, latency, resource sharing level, number of devices, and more.

The Nokia cloud-native core provides the necessary operations and automation software to allow CSPs to configure, orchestrate, secure and deliver network slicing.

The Nokia cloud-native core provides the necessary operations and automation software to allow CSPs to configure, orchestrate, secure and deliver network slicing.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Provide slice continuity across 4G, 5G NSA, 5G SA.
  • Support different service types by deploying slice-specific network functions using only relevant micro-services.
  • Flexible capabilities from a distributed architecture that scales in the central core, with user-plane deployed in the edge cloud or on-premises for the local breakout, reduced backhaul, and localized security.
  • Offer customized slices such as private wireless, IoT, MVNOs, Industry 4.0, and more.

Open, programmable 5G for innovative services

The Network Exposure Function (NEF) provides secure, unified access to the 5G API framework for developers, whether a CSP’s own or third-party, as well as for enterprises to self-care their services.

The Nokia NEF API framework’s plug-in design enables API-based services to be created across 4G and 5G, including multivendor cores and O-RAN’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). Nokia NEF and Open Ecosystem Network provide CSPs with a robust platform and third-party application developer community for creating new services:

  • Secure exposure of network services (voice, data connectivity, charging, subscriber data, etc.) to third-party applications
  • Developer environment and SDK for a CSP and its partners
  • Service mashups that create new services by combining any network functions or their data
  • Integration layer that connects a third-party application to a CSP’s network.

Open, programmable 5G for innovative services

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Offer innovative services by enabling CSP’s developers, third-party developers, and enterprises to rapidly and consistently create new applications.
  • Simplify the market for new services with Nokia NEF, which is both a 5G NEF and a 4G SCEF (Service Capability Exposure Framework), and which enables third-party plug-ins to work with multivendor cores.
  • Protect services with scalable security, with simplified exposure for events, data, and network function control points.

Deploy on any cloud: private, public or hybrid

By transferring cloud complexity to hyperscalers with existing cloud infrastructure, CI/CD DevOps, automation, and analytics capabilities, CSPs can avoid the burden of developing and managing the underlying cloud platform. This helps CSPs to streamline their operations and focus on service differentiation, such as faster time-to-market and improved operational efficiency.

Without the need to add capacity or build a data center, CSPs can launch applications and services without delay. Then they can optimize traffic and costs across private and public clouds. They can flexibly serve new customers with unknown demands, avoiding the potential waste of CAPEX for an under-used private cloud. Public clouds also cope with unforeseen demand by adding capacity during a large traffic event, so that CSPs avoid the costs of owning idle capacity.

Nokia enables CSPs to deploy their 5G cores onto any cloud, including Nokia Container Services, RedHat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu, Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Platform, and Microsoft Azure.

Nokia enables CSPs to deploy their 5G cores onto any cloud, including Nokia Container Services, RedHat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu, Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Platform and Microsoft Azure.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Automate lifecycle management making operations more responsive and less costly.
  • Win new revenue from enterprises and industries by offering analytics in partnership with hyperscalers.
  • Launch applications and services without delay then optimize traffic and costs.
  • Cut the costs of uncertainty by avoiding potentially wasted private cloud CAPEX, instead of using public cloud OPEX to cost-effectively serve new customers with unknown demands.

Provide solid security in 5G

Trust is an essential criterion for long-term commercial success. Yet growing threats, 5G architectural complexity, and new mission-critical services heighten the need for strong security and privacy. The 5G core’s ability to deliver applications, enable Industry 4.0, scale IoT services and personalize consumer services adds further security demands.

The Nokia 5G core gives CSPs full control to secure their 5G services, thanks to our design practices and the pervasive, automated security management built into our 5G core software and NetGuard security solutions.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • More resilience that minimizes intrusions, and when they do occur, quickly detects and neutralizes them.
  • Enhance mobile security with 5G’s stronger defenses and greater privacy than 4G.
  • Offer per-slice security such as slice separation and slice-specific SLAs.

The power of DelOps: continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD)

DevOps, widely used in IT and hyperscaler networks, needs to be adapted to the complexity of delivering software to multiple domain environments, third-party software, and hybrid cloud environments typical in telecom networks. Nokia Delivery Operations (DevOps) meets the demand by supporting many-to-many delivery and a new operations process.

Nokia offers a suite of pre-integrated and pre-tested CI/CD solutions for the delivery and deployment of products and solutions. The solutions span the range of CI/CD frameworks from Nokia, the CSP, or third parties.

Nokia offers a suite of pre-integrated and pre-tested CI/CD solutions for the delivery and deployment of products and solutions. The solutions span the range of CI/CD frameworks from Nokia, the CSP or third-parties.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Spend less time to deploy software upgrades and enable more frequent updates to win revenue more quickly.
  • Improve efficiency by reducing the time spent tracking and managing software. Reduce the effort needed to create, execute and update tests.
  • Reduce risk with automation for safer upgrades and updates in commercial networks. Less risk of failure or overshooting timelines.

Replace silos with an automation framework

Conventionally, automation of the network core and telco cloud reduced costs but also created islands of automation in the form of scripts that manipulated the element management systems.

However, new 5G services supported by a 5G core deployed in the cloud create unprecedented opportunities to deploy core network automation that increases revenue, reduces costs, and accelerates time to market.

The Nokia solution blends 5G architecture and hyper-scale cloud techniques to link automation elements together via APIs. This enables closed-loop feedback to create an automation framework.

The Nokia solution blends 5G architecture and hyperscaler cloud techniques to link automation elements together via APIs. This enables closed-loop feedback to create an automation framework.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Boost operational efficiency and reduce costs with zero-touch lifecycle management and finer control of network functions. Optimize in real-time with elastic scaling that grows and shrinks according to workload.
  • Diversify effectively to accelerate service launches with intelligent network workflows and CI/CD applied across operations. Gain service agility by rapidly deploying new services and industry-specific use cases.
  • Deliver quality with continuous proactive testing, fault finding, and self-healing. Enjoy fewer outages with an automated configuration that reduces human error.

Simplify industry-specific services for easy adoption by enterprises

With the rollout of 5G networks, CSPs can use network slicing and “as a Service” capabilities to create innovative and powerful industry-specific services for enterprise customers. However, the underlying 5G network complexity created by virtualization and containerization needs to be hidden from enterprises to simplify the solutions and support CSP business growth. CSPs must leverage intent-based methods to reduce friction for enterprises to do business with them.

Nokia Digital Operations software manages the end-to-end service lifecycle and orchestrates the underlying network domain loops to conceal their complexity from customers and partners. This intent-based approach helps to ensure adherence with per-slice SLAs.

Nokia Digital Operations software manages the end-to-end service lifecycle and orchestrates the underlying network domain loops to conceal their complexity from customers and partners. This intent-based approach helps to ensure adherence with per-slice SLAs.

New opportunities for CSPs:

  • Attract vertical industry partners using intent-based logic that enables customers to interface with their CSPs in business terms.
  • Enjoy more agility with efficient and accurate design and deployment of complex end-to-end services spanning the underlying domains.
  • Provide service guarantees for SLAs that are designed into the services to ensure they meet commercial agreements with vertical industry customers.

Nokia 5G core helps CSPs to profit from opportunity

Nokia 5G core provides a common platform for any access and any market segment, enabling CSPs to differentiate themselves by offering innovative services tailored to the needs of their customers. It delivers the flexibility, scalability, and performance CSPs need for 5G. Nokia 5G core is in live commercial service, helping CSPs resolve challenges because it is:

Done right: Cloud-native and infrastructure-agnostic, Nokia 5G core can be deployed on any cloud (private, public, or hybrid; central or edge), using containers, virtual machines, or physical. CSPs can use all accesses, including fixed, unlicensed, and 2/3/4/5G (NSA & SA).

Done now: Nokia 5G core disaggregates the mobile core, making it dynamic and agile. It uses hyper-scale techniques of micro-services, containers, Service Based Architecture (SBA), service mesh, continual software updates, and openness.

Made real: Nokia 5G core meets stringent reliability and resilience demands, proven in hundreds of cloud and 5G core deployments. These include the world’s first nationwide 5G Standalone deployment at T-Mobile US and the world’s first 5G on the public cloud at DISH Wireless US.

Nokia 5G core helps CSPs to profit from opportunity