5G Core Network
End-to-end flexibility is confirmed to be one of the core features of future 5G networks. This flexibility will result in large part from the introduction of network softwarization, i.e., the network hardware and the software functions are separate.
Network softwarization through network functional virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN), network slicing and Cloud-RAN (C-RAN) aims to increase the pace of innovation and the pace at which mobile networks can be transformed.
- NFV – replaces network functions on dedicated appliances – such as routers, load balancers, and firewalls – with virtualized instances running on commercial off-the-shelf hardware, reducing the cost of network changes and upgrades.
- SDN – allows the dynamic reconfiguration of network features in real-time, letting 5G networks to be controlled by software rather than hardware. This improves network performance, resilience, and quality of service.
- Network slicing – allows a physical network to be divided into multiple virtual networks (logical segments) which can support different RANs or several types of services for certain customer segments. Also, greatly decreases network construction expenses by using communication channels more efficiently.
- C-RAN. C-RAN is presented as a key disruptive technology, vital to the realization of 5G networks. It is a cloud-based radio network architecture that utilizes virtual techniques together with centralized processing units. Also, it replaces the distributed signal processing units at mobile base stations and reduces the costs of deploying dense mobile networks based on small cells.
Source : ITU