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    The 5G SA Core architecture is describe in the following figure.

    5G Core Architecture, 5g core, 5g core network, 5g core network architecture
    The SA Architecture
    * The SA architecture can be seen as the "full 5G deployment", not needing any part of a 4G network to operate.
    * The NR base station (logical node "gNB") connects with each other via the Xn interface, and the Access Network (called the "NG-RAN for SA architecture") connects to the 5GC network using the NG interface.
    * The continuation of this section refers to the SA architecture, the NSA being addressed in a subsequent, dedicated, section.

    Overview of the Core Network

    * In the SA deployment option, the 5G System (5GS) is composed of the User Equipment, the Access Network (including the "New Radio" or NR) and the Core Network (5GC or 5GCN).
    * The service requirements, as presented in the previous clause, were used as a basis to define the architecture. The architecture specification (also called, Stage 2) started with a preliminary study in TR 23.799, also called "NextGen TR", before being fully specified in TS 23.501, TS 23.502 and TS 23.503.
    * The 5GC architecture relies on a so-called "Service-Based Architecture" (SBA) framework, where the architecture elements are defined in terms of "Network Functions" (NFs) rather than by "traditional" Network Entities. Via interfaces of a common framework, any given NF offers its services to all the other authorized NFs and/or to any "consumers" that are permitted to make use of these provided services. Such an SBA approach offers modularity and reusability.
    * The basic (SA, non-roaming) 5G System architecture is shown below (figure introduced by the editor):
    5G Core Architecture, 5g core, 5g core network, 5g core network architecture
    Overview of the 5G System architecture
    At this stage, only the following essential Network Functions and elements are highlighted here:

    -    The User Equipment (UE);

    -    The (Radio) Access Network [(R)AN];

    -    The User Plane Function (UPF), handling the user data;

    -    The (external) Data Network (DN);

    -    Some remarkable Network Functions (NFs):

    -    The Application Function (AF), handling the application(s);

    -    The Access and Mobility management Function (AMF), that accesses the UE and the (R)AN;

    -    The Session Management Function (SMF) that accesses the UPF.

    The other NFs are introduced later.

    * The SBA (Service Based Architecture) approach enables a virtualized deployment. Indeed, a Network Function instance can be deployed as fully distributed, fully redundant, stateless and/or fully scalable. Several Network Function instances can be present within a same NF set. Conversely, the services can be provided from several locations.
    * In other words, when the services of a specific NF are invoked, this virtualization enables to route the UE's messages to any capable entity (within a pre-defined set of equivalent NFs).
    * This provides resiliency: any specific instance of the NF can e.g. be turned off for planned maintenance, and there will be auto-recovery without any service disruption.

    Overview of the Access Network

    As a first approach, the architecture of the 5G AN is extremely simple since it consists in one single entity, the gNB, which connects to the 5G CN via the NG interface. It may also connect to another gNB via the Xn interface and/or to the 4G's eNB via the X2 interface, as shown below in the editor-proposed picture inspired from TS 38.401 and TS 38.420. It also connects to the UE via the NR interface, not shown on the figure. Note that this AN architecture is rather similar in its principle to what was developed for LTE with the eNB, as can be seen in TS 36.401.
    Overview of the AN interfaces

    References for 5GS

    The main specifications for the 5G System are:
    [1]     TS 23.501, "System Architecture for the 5G System"
    [2]     TS 23.502, "Procedures for the 5G System"
    [3]     TS 23.503, "Policy and Charging Control Framework for the 5G System"
    [4]     TR 23.799 "Study on Architecture for Next Generation System"
    [5]     TS 38.401 " NG-RAN; Architecture description"
    [6]     TS 38.420 " NG-RAN; Xn general aspects and principles"
    [7]     TS 36.401 "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN); Architecture description"


    Joni Tyagi

    Author & Editor


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