5G Playground & Network Emulation

August 9, 2019

5G Network Structure

The below network diagram describes the 5G architecture which consists of all RANs, aggregator, IP network, nanocore etc. network elements.

As shown in the figure the 5G network uses flat IP concept so that different RANs (Radio Access Networks) are able to use the same single Nanocore for communication. RANs supported by 5G architecture are GSM, GPRS/EDGE, UMTS, LTE, LTE-advanced, WiMAX, WiFi, CDMA2000, EV-DO, CDMA One, IS-95 etc.

  • Devices are identified through Flat IP architecture using symbolic names unlike hierarchical architecture where in normal IP addresses are used. This architecture reduces number of network elements in data path which makes it cost effective and also minimizes latency.
  • 5G aggregator aggregates all the RAN traffics and route it to gateway. 5G aggregator is located at BSC/RNC place. 5G mobile terminal houses different radio interfaces for each RAT in order to provide support for all the spectrum access and wireless technologies.
  • 5G nanocore, another component in the 5G network architecture which consists of nanotechnology, cloud computing, All IP architecture.
  • Internet and central remote services are both used by cloud computing to maintain data and applications of the users. Without installing, consumers can use applications and get access to their files from any computer through cloud computing across the globe with the use of internet.

5G NR Standard Architecture

gNB, in SA mode, provides NR user plane and control plane protocol terminations towards the UE (i.e. 5G terminal device such as smartphone, tablet, laptop etc.) and it is connected via the NG interface to the 5GC.

In NSA mode, anchor eNB node providing E-UTRA (i.e. LTE) control plane protocol terminations towards the UE, and connected to LTE EPC. Here AMF stands for Access and Mobility Management Function and UPF stands for User Plane Function.

3GPP TS 38.401 describes 5G NR user plane and control plane as well as 5G NR RAN architecture with various interfaces (NG, Xn and F1) and their interaction with the radio interface (Uu). 5G smartphones interact with 5G-RAN over Uu radio interface. 5G RAN interacts with 5GC (5G Core Network).

5G NR RAN Architecture

The protocols over Uu and NG interfaces are classified into user plane protocols and control plane protocols.

  • User plane protocols implement actual PDU Session service which carries user data through the access stratum.
  • Control plane protocols control PDU Sessions and connection between UE and the network from various aspects which includes requesting the service, controlling different transmission resources, handover etc.

NG-RAN Architecture

  • The NG-RAN consists of a set of gNBs connected to the 5GC through the NG interface.
  • An gNB can support FDD mode, TDD mode or dual mode operation.
  • gNBs can be interconnected through the Xn interface.
  • A gNB may consist of a gNB-CU and one or more gNB-DU(s). A gNB-CU and a gNB-DU is connected via F1 interface.
  • NG, Xn and F1 are logical interfaces.
  • 5GC (5G Core) Network architecture is highly flexible, modular and scalable. It offers many functions including network slicing to serve vivid customer requirements. It provides distributed cloud, SDN (Software Defined Networking) & NFV (Network functions virtualization).

5G Protocol Stack

The below diagram describes 5G protocol stack mentioning 5G protocol layers mapped with OSI stack. 5G protocol stack contains OWA layer, network layer, Open transport layer and application layer.

OWA Layer: OWA layer, otherwise known as Open Wireless Architecture layer and it functions as physical layer and data link layer of OSI stack.
Network Layer: It routes data from source IP device to the destination IP device/system and is divided into lower and upper network layers. 
Open Transport Layer: It merges functionality of both transport layer and session layer. 
Application Layer: It marks the data as per proper format required. It encrypt and decrypt data & selects the best wireless connection for given service. 

5G NR Radio Protocol Architecture

Protocol layers at UE and gNB side are shown in the structure below for both user plane and control plane functionalities.

5G Network Emulation

The Simnovus 5G Network Emulator emulates an entire 5G-NSA based cellular network in a single box. An instance each of an eNB (master cell), gNB (secondary cell), EPC, IMS and Application Server makes it the only solution to verify 5G, Nb-IOT/Cat-M and VoLTE/LTE devices or modules in the same solution. The solution provides non-conducted (i.e. over the air) as well as conducted (using RF cables) mode of connectivity with the device under test. The PCIe Software Defined Radio (SDR) cards provided with the solution makes it truly software based which is compatible on any x86 platform. The integrated IoT platform and IMS Server make it extremely convenient to verify the communication between the client and the application server (e.g. VoLTE, MQTT).

Other than standard operations and procedures, our 5G Network Emulators provides the ability to simulate negative and abnormal network behavior.

Key Benefits

  • operates in any of the FDD and TDD frequency bands within 6GHz making it convenient to ensure compatibility of the device in any region
  • Compliance to latest 3GPP Release 15 specification facilitates rapid validation of features
  • Validates 5G UE’s dual connectivity capability
  • Possibility to choose any combination of duplexing scheme for 4G and 5G cells in the NSA mode
  • Integrated IMS Core enables VoLTE and ViLTE testing
  • Integrated feature rich IoT platform ensures end-to-end verification of the NB-IoT devices
  • Reduces CAPEX with the use of Software Defined Radio (SDR) on COTS hardware
  • Portable network-in-a-box solution makes it suitable for both lab and field tests
  • Fast learning with easy to use web-based user interface

Simnovus’ 5G Network Emulator is also ideal for:

  • Assisting academic and business researchers to study the behavior of 5G networks under different conditions and for various normal and abnormal network operations by simulating an end-to-end 5G network.
  • Validating 5G devices such as handsets, laptops, modems, chipsets, CPEs etc for a range of frequency bands upto 6GHz. Device manufacturers can use it for pre certification tests of devices as per 3GPP standards

Simnovus Network Emulation Solutions:

  • Simnovus 5G New Radio (NR) network emulation solutions allow users to prototype and develop 5G NR chipsets and devices
  • It allow users to check and verify advanced 5G NR features (e.g., beamforming) across global spectrum requirements
  • Allow users to validate new 5G NR waveforms and complex 5G numerology with test automation tools
Take your next step with Simnovus’ 5G Network Emulator. If you have questions or needing more information, please email us at sales@simnovus.com

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