Broadband Forum propels 5G with core network proposals

News

The Forum delivered recommendations to 3GPP for a converged 5G core for fixed and mobile networks.

The proposals were created by operators that participate in the Forum and 3GPP, developed in a cycle of iterative contributions and feedback between the two standards bodies.

Geoff Burke, CMO of Broadband Forum, commented, “Two years ago, ten of the world’s biggest operators came to us with their concerns that the 5G infrastructure which was being developed would not let them take advantage of both their wireless and wireline networks.

“Today, we are able to deliver a set of recommendations which will not only address how the 5G core can be evolved to support the fixed networks of these operators but provide them with the capabilities to launch new innovative combined subscriber offerings.”

Proposals to 3GPP

The proposals to 3GPP concern the common interfaces for access networks and 5G core networks to support the convergence of wireline and wireless networks.

Detailed suggestions for several interfaces between the 5G core and fixed network have been passed to 3GPP for its members to assess.

The Forum provided recommendations for signalling changes and improvements, addressing how wireless access can be integrated into the 5G core.

Services span technologies

Alex Jinsung Choi, Senior Vice President Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom Group, another operator that contributed significantly, added, “Implementing a converged and integrated core network is the key to unlock this converged services approach.

"We welcome this important contribution to ensure a globally standardized approach to achieve fixed-mobile convergence.”

Next releases

The new specifications developed by 3GPP and Broadband Forum will either be part of or complement 3GPP’s Release 16 specifications, which are due for publication at the end this year.

The joint efforts between the two will continue up to and after Release 16 and expand as 5G networks are built out and start to evolve.

Next steps

As part of its efforts to drive fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), the Forum is working on a specification for a 5G access gateway function that adapts fixed access to the 5G core.

Other ongoing projects are on specifications for customer premises equipment to work with 5G, and specifications for interworking between existing fixed access subscribers to use equipment that leverages the 5G core in various deployment scenarios.

This will enable the integration of fixed and mobile technologies, so operators can offer new converged services.

More work has been carried out in the Forum regarding the design of 5G and technology enablers to drive both mobile and fixed developments. It also liaises with other industry bodies, including NGMN, which looks to the functionality and performance of tech for mobile networks.