3GPP has got the ball rolling at the beginning of 2018 with releasing possible architecture options for deployment of 5G. Out of the eight scenario initially considered, four seems more probable. Interestingly, most of the Operators seem to consider only one of them practical. Non-Standalone Architecture ( or Option - 3/3x) has come out as a winning proposition that suggests introduction of 5G NR as SeNB (Secondary eNB). Dual Connectivity (DC) shall be reused as baseline considering the fact that EPC should not be impacted.
The diagram above shows the other options.
The other option that needs serious consideration is Option-7 that indicates introduction of 5G Core with or without 5G-NR. It is worthwhile to reiterate some of the considerations in choosing between the two options.
If marketing and thought leadership are not the sole drivers for Operators to jump on 5G bus, Option -7 offers a very balanced approach for testing waters and understand what 5G has to offer from core perspective. Operation and management, integration and EPC inter-working are items that might be better understood without involving the complexity of the radio. SBA and Cloud native NFs might also present interesting challenges that can be better understood and handled in early iterations.
Catenna believes that Option-7 has potential to reduce OPEX and might pay for itself it done in the right way.
We would like to hear what others in industry have to say ?