“With the continuous evolution and development of communication technology, and the mutual penetration and integration with cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence industries, the 5G era has quietly arrived. 5G network features such as large bandwidth, support for massive connections, and low latency will strongly promote the integration and transformation of ICT for operators and enterprises, and create a highly customized, highly intelligent, and highly open network ecosystem with customer experience as the core ; Further promote the maturity of related technology industries such as the Internet of Everything, industrial intelligence, and autonomous driving.
With the continuous evolution and development of communication technology, and the mutual penetration and integration with cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence industries, the 5G era has quietly arrived. 5G network features such as large bandwidth, support for massive connections, and low latency will strongly promote the integration and transformation of ICT for operators and enterprises, and create a highly customized, highly intelligent, and highly open network ecosystem with customer experience as the core ; Further promote the maturity of related technology industries such as the Internet of Everything, industrial intelligence, and autonomous driving.
Common Core, facing the challenges of 5G core network deployment
With the issuance of four 5G licenses by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on June 6 this year, the construction and operation of 5G networks are ready to go, operators will face unprecedented challenges, and the successful deployment of 5G core networks will definitely become a crucial part of it. influencing factors. Although the problems faced by the 5G core network in the deployment process are numerous and complex, they can be summarized in the following three aspects:
1) How to realize One Core for All through network integration to meet the requirements of multi-protocol standards (R4-R16) and multi-application scenarios (eMBB/uRLLC/mMTC);
2) How to realize the flexible evolution of existing networks to 5G:
3) How to empower different vertical industries through 5G, lead industrial upgrading, and promote industry development;
In response to the above three major problems of the 5G core network, ZTE, as a major telecom equipment supplier, based on its deep understanding of network construction and operation, took the lead in the industry to propose a 5G Common Core core network solution for future industry development needs. Committed to providing operators with a fully converged 5G core network that supports multi-protocol standards/multi-application scenario integration, flexible evolution, and adapts to the business development needs of different industries.
Figure 1 ZTE Common Core solution
1) Deep integration supports multi-standard protocols and multi-application scenarios
ZTE Common Core has the ability to support 2G/3G/4G/5G/Fixed full access, and realizes five integrations (AMF/MME/SGSN, UDM/HSS/HLR, PCF/PCRF, SMF/GW-C, UPF/GW-U). ZTE Common Core adopts Cloud Native technology and realizes the sharing of functional components across networks through micro-services and SBA/SBA+ technology. One network is used for multiple purposes, which simplifies the network topology relationship and reduces the interoperability and signaling interaction of cross-network functions. After the integration, network KPIs are significantly improved, operation and maintenance efficiency is greatly improved, and user experience is improved.
In addition, with the advent of the 5G era, the multiple growth of data traffic and the popularization of applications with 99.999% high reliability and ultra-low latency less than 1ms, such as autonomous driving and industrial automation, have put forward new requirements for network transmission bandwidth and latency. and challenges. Therefore, sinking the user plane to the regional DC, or even the edge DC, is an inevitable choice for the transformation of the 5G network architecture. To this end, ZTE Common Core adopts CU separation (CUPS/CUPS+) and Smart NIC (Smart NIC) hardware acceleration solutions to perform hardware acceleration for UPF/GW-U forwarding on the basis of CU separation. The VNF (UPF/GW-U) learns from the first service packet, generates a fast forwarding flow table, and delivers the forwarding flow table to the SmartNIC. Subsequent user plane packets will be offloaded and processed by the SmartNIC and forwarded directly, which greatly reduces CPU resource usage , greatly improving performance and reducing latency. Compared with common software acceleration solutions in the industry, the Smart NIC hardware acceleration solution reduces forwarding delay by 90%, increases throughput by 200%, and reduces power consumption by 55%, which better meets the requirements of 5G eMBB and URLLC application scenarios.
2) Flexible evolution to meet operators’ demands for network construction
The currently frozen 5G standard provides operators with two evolution paths: NSA and SA. Whether it is NSA or SA, the ultimate goal is to build 5G better and faster, but how to choose has become a key issue in the current industry.
Through the survey of some global operators who have selected 5G networking solutions, it is not difficult to find that most operators prefer NSA to enter the initial 5G construction, and then gradually evolve to NSA+SA hybrid networking; a small number of operators directly choose SA Plan to build 5G. According to the different positioning and selection of different operators based on their own conditions, it is required that the deployment of 5G network itself needs to have the characteristics of flexible evolution.
ZTE’s Common Core solution embodies the above deployment requirements for flexible network evolution. For 5G network function (NF), Common Core provides R15 NSA/SA dual-stack capability and can smoothly evolve towards R16. Operators can flexibly deploy SA, NSA, or NSA&SA dual-mode networks in the same network according to their own network requirements. The architecture can be implemented in one step, and resources can be reused, avoiding multiple network upgrades and transformations, and reaching the 5G target network, greatly reducing investment costs. For users, they can easily enjoy 5G without changing cards or numbers.
3) Intelligent deployment efficiently empowers vertical industries
Network slicing aims to provide logically dedicated networks for different scenarios. ZTE Common Core adopts microservices and SBA/SBA+ technology, through the sharing and free combination of functional component modules, flexibly deploys highly customized network slices, and effectively realizes the application of network functions in different vertical industries. By virtualizing one network into N network slices, it has the ability to serve N vertical customers at the same time to meet the network capability requirements of various 5G scenarios, effectively reduce network construction and operation and maintenance costs, and significantly improve service online. speed.
ZTE Common Core integrates CloudStudio’s intelligent end-to-end orchestration solution, which is based on big data and AI technology, and realizes automatic analysis of business models, network design, service deployment, commissioning test, patrol inspection, grayscale upgrade, etc. Function, to realize a full range of 5G new network from the center to the edge, from the underlying hardware to the orchestration management, from the network element to the service.
Through the deep integration of 5G and AI technologies, ZTE Common Core truly realizes intelligent business slicing, intelligent operation and maintenance, and intelligent network resources, and provides end-to-end intelligence across network elements and fields in the horizontal and vertical directions respectively. optimization, and comprehensively improve the intelligence level of 5G networks. ZTE’s leading intelligent RCA (Root Cause Analysis) system has a built-in artificial intelligence engine, establishes alarm correlation rules through machine learning, and continuously optimizes the rule base for troubleshooting, effectively reducing manual operation and maintenance costs by 75% and improving operation and maintenance efficiency by 2 times. above.
“Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division” empowers 5G construction
ZTE’s Common Core solution is based on 5G commercial scenarios, aiming at the three major pain points of operators in the construction and operation of 5G core network, through NFV/SDN technology, SBA/SBA+ architecture, micro-service group and stateless design, etc. The new technology realizes the unified integration of data, strategy, control and forwarding, supports 2G/3G/4G/5G/Fixed converged access, truly realizes One Core for All, and helps customers to take the lead in technology and time in the 5G wave .
ZTE adheres to the philosophy of simplicity, speed, and movement as needed. In the process of helping operators build an ideal 5G network, the principle of “addition, subtraction, multiplication and division” is adhered to: subtraction means building a minimalist network, unifying the network control layer, simplifying hardware devices at the access layer, and realizing hardware capability sharing. Plus, that is, increase the network “IQ” to make it more intelligent. In addition, through network slicing technology, a network is multiplexed to form N network slices and applied in different scenarios, which reduces operators’ network construction and operation costs and accelerates service rollout. Multiplication, that is, “multiplying” 5G networks with vertical industries, and cross-border combination, triggering a matrix revolution in the business models of various vertical industries.
Up to now, ZTE NFV has more than 450 commercial and PoC cases around the world, and has carried out 5G cooperation with more than 60 operators around the world to jointly promote the development of 5G technology and standards, and accelerate the process of 5G commercialization.
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