Gläserne Fabrik Pressemitteilung
Philipp Plum/ Fraunhofer FOKUS

5G core network by Fraunhofer FOKUS compatible with radio technology of various manufacturers

News from June 17, 2020

Press Release  Thanks to the interoperability of the Open5GCore by Fraunhofer FOKUS, companies can flexibly use a wide range of radio technologies of various manufacturers when setting up 5G networks. This facilitates healthy competition and supports companies in testing local, reliable, secure and future-proof 5G “standalone” campus networks.

A 5G network consists of end devices, the base stations with antennas, providing the radio access network (RAN), and the core network connecting the RAN to enterprise and/ or Internet servers. Control programs for communication run in the core network. With 5G, core networks are implemented virtually, i.e., software-based. This implementation has the advantage that 5G (campus) networks can be set up flexibly and efficiently according to customer-specific requirements in terms of latency, the number of devices to be networked, and the necessary security level.

Interoperability tests conducted by the Berlin-based research institute Fraunhofer FOKUS have shown that the Open5GCore, the reference 5G core network by Fraunhofer FOKUS, works smoothly with the base stations of Huawei and Nokia. Thus, with the Open5GCore, end-to-end tests of 5G “standalone” networks with market-ready base stations from different manufacturers can now be carried out for the first time. Interoperability tests with other manufacturers are already planned and will be conducted soon.

With Open5GCore and 5G radio technology by the manufacturers above, a 5G network can be set up as a “standalone” (SA) system, as opposed to “non-standalone” solutions that combine 5G base stations with existing 4G core net-works. The 5G standalone architecture is ideal for campus network operations, as it allows companies to avoid unnecessary parallel use of 4G infrastructure, which is common practice in current 5G networks operated by major mobile operators. SA 5G networks avoid unnecessary investments in 4G radio technologies that are being phased out and ensures the availability of full performance and functionality of the new mobile standard.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Magedanz, director of the Software-based Networks business unit at Fraunhofer FOKUS, emphasizes: “For the security of large production plants or critical infrastructures, it is crucial that hardware and software components from different manufacturers can be used for the communication network, thus achieving technical redundancy. The avoidance of a 'vendor lock-in', i.e., being independent of a particular manufacturer, also promotes an innovative network realization. This facilitates combining the currently most powerful wireless technologies of different manufacturers as required.”

The Open5GCore is suitable for various networks:

  • local and distributed campus and enterprise networks,
  • portable, temporary networks, for example, for major events or disaster relief operations,
  • integration into an edge network: local implementation on-site at the company’s premises (“on-premise”)

Selected features of the Open5GCore:

  • separation of control and application data for lower latency and higher throughput
  • based on the 5G standard 3GPP release 16 (3GPP: 3rd Generation Partnership Project, an international cooperation of standardization bodies for standardization in mobile communications),
  • support for both 3GPP compliant access (5G SA, 5G NSA, LTE, NB-IoT LTE) and non-3GPP compliant access (WLAN, 60 GHz, satellite),
  • optimizes end-to-end network management using machine learning tech-niques,
  • flexibly adapts its infrastructure requirements depending on the application – from resource-constrained Rasberry Pi systems up to server clusters,
  • support for a wide range of virtual infrastructures: virtual machines, containers, and the most commonly virtual infrastructure managers and orchestrators

The Open5GCore is already in use worldwide in more than 40 5G test environments in well-known network operators, manufacturers, companies, and research institutes.