verizon 5gVerizon said today that it has successfully completed an end-to-end data session over its new 5G standalone core network. The company said it expects to start moving traffic onto the new core in the second half of this year, with full commercialization in 2021.

Initially, Verizon and other U.S. mobile carriers deployed 5G wireless in non-standalone mode, meaning that the service was underpinned by carriers’ previous-generation core network infrastructure. Moving 5G traffic onto a cloud-native 5G standalone core will enable a range of advanced capabilities, including network slicing, Verizon said.

As Verizon explained in a press release, slicing will use the 5G core network’s cloud-native approach in combination with built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning, to provide “dynamic allocation of the appropriate resources.” The goal is to enable the company’s 5G network to support a wide range of applications that require different network capabilities. The company noted, for example, that an application involving massive numbers of Internet of Things (IoT) devices would need different network capabilities than an application involving augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR).

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Verizon 5G Small Cell (Source: Verizon)

Network slicing also will allow for “automated network configuration changes, including the ability to scale up or scale down network function capacity – to provide the right service levels and network resources needed for each use case,” the press release explains.

Other benefits of the standalone 5G core, according to Verizon, include:

  • Real-time resource management of radio access network and virtual network functions
  • Advanced analytics of network data to improve network performance
  • Optimized services between Verizon’s fixed and mobile networks
  • Scalable, more cost-efficient architecture
  • The ability to move workloads to fit use case requirements

The 5G standalone core is “critical for unleashing the most advanced benefits of 5G technology including remarkable levels of programmability to manage the advanced solutions and exponential traffic that 5G will bring,” said Bill Stone, vice president of planning for Verizon, in today’s press release. “By building this 5G core with cloud-native containerized architecture, we will be able to achieve new levels of operational automation, flexibility and adaptability.”

Not Unique to Verizon
All major U.S. wireless carriers reportedly plan to deploy a 5G standalone core this year or next. T-Mobile recently claimed several standalone 5G “firsts,” including a standalone 5G data session between commercial modems from two suppliers on a production network, a feat that seems highly similar, if not identical, to or more complex than what Verizon touted today.

Meanwhile, Dish has committed to building a new 5G network that will not be underpinned with a previous-generation core but will use a standalone 5G core from the get-go.

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