5G network architecture: Key points to the future mobile networks
Nokia details flexibility, scale 5G network architecture will enable
Next-generation networks will not be server-centric, as they will put the focus on data and content requirements. The 5G network architecture will support easy scalability, have security and privacy built-in, enable energy efficient operation and will also offer the lowest operational expenses.
In the 5G era, mobile networks will be programmable platforms supporting diverse uses, services and applications apart from offering traditional voice and data services. In 2020 and beyond, the network infrastructure will be used simultaneously for various network scenarios.
According to a study by Finnish vendor Nokia, 5G network architecture will provide the following capabilities:
- Integrate multiple radio access technologies in licensed and unlicensed frequency bands. The radio network will make full use of the entire frequency range from sub-6 GHz up to 100 GHz. The access network will be ultra-dense and provide virtual zero latency.
- Automation will be used to manage operational complexity created by this wide range of different radio technologies in a smart way.
- Backhaul will be heterogeneous, relying on optical technologies. Backhaul will be also augmented with other secure wireless backhaul options to support flexible deployments.
- Mobile edge computing will bring the cloud closer to user locations. This will personalize the service experience through faster service delivery and augmented reality enhancements.
- Virtualization of core and radio access network functions will optimize the use of network resources, add scalability and agility. This will also require both central and local data centers with Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities.
- SDN technologies will enable transport network resources, including fronthaul and backhaul, to become virtually programmable.
- A shared data layer will provide a single version of all network data. Big data analytics will support cross-layer orchestration and enable real-time action to be taken.
- Security and end-to-end management and orchestration will be embedded into the network architecture across all domains.
New 5G network architecture will be a key element to meet the requirements beyond 2020, to manage complex multi-layer and multi-technology networks, and to achieve built-in flexibility. 5G era networks will be programmable, software driven and managed holistically.
5G network architecture will allow next-generation mobile networks to focus on the customer experience. These future networks must be built around user needs. 5G networks will be cognitive networks and will use big data analytics and artificial intelligence to solve complex optimization tasks in real time and in a predictable manner.
This network architecture will entail the full use of open source software technologies, industry compliance and greater cooperation with IT players. At the same time, standardization bodies and organizations such as 3GPP will continue to help define the best standard for 5G, assuring interoperability with regard to the air interface and associated software and mobility control architecture.
According to Nokia, the radio access network (RAN) remains the key enabler of ubiquitous wireless connectivity but significant changes are expected over the coming years. New 5G radio access network will integrate existing and new technologies, to complement LTE technology. 5G will include existing systems like LTE-Advanced and Wi-Fi, coupled with innovative technologies for ultra dense deployments, machine type communication, highly reliable communication and minimal latency.