The Power of Standalone 5G
The standalone mode of 5G New Radio (NR) represents what many in the industry consider to be true 5G, as it will let operators deliver new experiences beyond the non-standalone version that has so far underpinned most5G services.
Non-standalone 5G uses existing LTE networking infrastructure, whereas the standalone mode is based on 5Gcells for both signalling and information transfer. It includes new 5G packet core architecture, so that instead of relying on the LTE core, 5G can be deployed without pre-existing LTE equipment in the network.
Importantly, the 5G standalone core is cloud-native and is designed as a service-based architecture, virtualizing all software network functions using edge computing and providing the full range of 5G features. Some of these are needed in the enterprise space for advanced uses such as smart factory automation, smart city applications, remote control of critical infrastructure and autonomous vehicle operation. However, 5G standalone does mean additional investment and can bring complexity in running multiple cores in the network.
This will be a potential source of new revenue for service providers, as digital transformation — with 5G standalone as a cornerstone — will enable them to deliver reliable low-latency communications and massive Internet of things (IoT) connectivity to customers in different industry sectors. The low latency and much higher capacity needed by those emerging service areas will only be feasible with standalone 5G and packet corenetwork architecture.
In addition, the service-based architecture opens up the ability to slice the 5G network into customized virtualpieces that can be tailored to the needs of individual enterprises, while maximizing the network’s operationalefficiency. Advanced uses for 5G NR aren’t backward- compatible with LTE infrastructure, so all operators willeventually need to get to standalone 5G.
Non-standalone 5G has been a necessary step in the global transition to 5G, but the standalone variant is arguably where the action will be. And at CCS Insight, we’ve been watching with interest those that are already embracing the technology.
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The Power of Standalone 5G
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