The fifth generation (5G) of cellular networks has given us enhanced connectivity, low latency and greater bandwidth to usher in unparalleled opportunities for industries and society. It’s the platform that’s enabling Communication Service Providers (CPSs) to thrive and reach new milestones in an increasingly competitive ecosystem.
In 2021 more service providers launched and switched on 5G networks, but many are still waiting to see its true potential so they can grow their revenue with agility and speed. While every CSP’s strategy is unique, the evolution from 4G to 5G networks requires a transformative point of view. It’s not enough to just replicate a 4G network with newer technology. The build out of 5G is fundamentally different to how networks have traditionally been built with previous generations.
Without a 5G Core, advanced 5G use cases such as multiplayer augmented reality gaming or virtual factory maintenance, will never materialize.
Breaking new ground with 5G standalone
Today, many CSPs begin their 5G journey with Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture, which uses existing 4G LTE radio access to support new 5G services. However, this approach has made it challenging to unlock 5G’s full potential because 4G network architecture is not able to withstand the expectations of mobile networks needed to meet the requirements from new applications emerging today with enterprise and industry business opportunities. While the technology still plays a critical role in our day-to-day lives, it does come with certain limitations for CSPs looking to step into the future they were promised with 5G.
Transitioning to a 5G Standalone (SA) network not only evolves the existing network in place today, but it also upgrades it so transformative elements can be introduced for new business opportunities or vertical needs. The technology allows service providers to simplify their planning and execution process, and connect to 5G quicker.
5G SA architecture will create a truly futuristic ecosystem because it’s the foundation for reaching 5G maturity with 5G Core.
Capturing real opportunities with future-proof network architecture
Many CSPs are aware of 5G Core, but are hesitant on how to expand its capabilities beyond just modernizing their existing networks, providing security and reducing operational complexities and cost.
To put it simply, 5G Core is not in place yet. Beyond organizing a CSPs network, it’s key for unlocking new services in dedicated and private networks, Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing – services across manufacturing, gaming, transportation, to name a few that will give CSPs a competitive advantage. These new opportunities will be easier to manage and can be launched quickly to test market demand and reception. And with that, decisions can be made just as easily whether to expand these new service offerings or phase them out.
With 5G Core, service providers will also have opportunities to customize services through network slicing based on customer needs for full programmability. They will be able to provide better slicing and offer end-to-end service level agreements (SLA) to customers. Network slicing allows CSPs to take a single end-to-end physical network and dice it up into virtual slices so that different customers receive dedicated resources depending on their need. Network slicing also complements the use of both public and private networks.
There are several more benefits to deploying 5G Core, but the principal takeaway is that the software-based platform should be the target network architecture for operators looking to capitalize on 5G’s promise.
A Fundamental Piece of 5G Networks
CSPs who are committed to capturing new opportunities on their digital transformation journey should see 5G Core as the key to opening that door. From enhanced end user experiences and improved network capabilities to simplified operations and service agility, 5G core is the heart of a 5G network. And with SA technology, it’s what will enable service providers to create the most innovative use cases and services, such as network slicing that will disrupt the way we see the world.
Want to know more how Vodafone and Ericsson is shaping Germany’s 5G future with 5G standalone and cloud-native 5G Core?