Verizon has recently conducted a successful test of an end-to-end data session with the new 5G standalone (SA) core. This means the operator can now leverage 5G’s cloud-native containerized architecture – exactly the way it is supposed to be. The operator is planning to start shifting its 5G mobile traffic to the new core later this year.
Most of the existing 5G carriers have deployed their 5G networks in non-standalone (NSA) mode, which still relies on 4G’s EPC (Evolved Packet Core). If 5G core is implemented, Verizon can deliver exclusive features of 5G including network slicing and extremely low latency communication (URLLC) for mission-critical use cases. As per the Verizon officials, the 5G core will enable the operator to achieve new levels of operational automation, flexibility and adaptability.
The network core is a software stack of applications, compute functions, network functions and storage. It is a crucial part of the network that enables IP-based connectivity between the user and the services like internet and voice. Due to cloud-based containerized architecture of the 5G core, it can utilize potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies will allow the dynamic slicing of network (real-time allocation of resources). This technique can provide specific services to different user groups based on their usage requirements. While Verizon still has some virtualization work to complete, it expects to fully commercialize standalone 5G by 2021.