Innovations and Trends in 5G Network Architecture
The 5G mobile network not only incorporates a new radio access technology but also transforms the mobile core network architecture. The new core network will embrace software defined networking principles through separation of user plane and control plane, natively incorporate virtualization through a modular architecture, and will serve multiple access technologies through access agnostic functions and protocols. The 5G architecture will be simpler and more open than in 4G, with the modular core network functions dynamically discovered and on-boarded to provide service. We describe the key aspects of a new services based architecture in which network functions expose capabilities through a registration and discovery process and make those capabilities available through a single reference point to all other authorized functions. We also look beyond the basic aspects of the architecture and examine several network architecture and technology trends that will impact the continuing definition of 5G and the resultant end-user experience enabled by network services. Specifically, we describe our vision for the following elements of the 5G architecture, including network slicing and expanded policy control framework, user plane programmability including dynamic protocol selection, network control of multi-connected device, and architecture features for self-backhauling.