5G Deployment Options: Know All in Details, Options 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

The 5G deployment options range from a standalone LTE network connected to the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) to a non-standalone network that integrates both LTE and 5G New Radio (NR) access technologies controlled by either the EPC or the 5G Core (5GC).

In this article, you can explore various 5G deployment options and their use-cases in in-depth.


๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ƒ๐ž๐ฉ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฒ 5๐† ๐’๐€ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐’๐€?

โ€œ5G offers endless possibilities, but its deployment varies. Operators choose options based on spectrum, geography, equipment, and business factors. 3GPP guidelines ease the transition from 4G to 5G. Typically, 5G NR deploys first, coexisting with 4G RAN. Then, the 5G Core arrives. Expect 4G+5G handsets connecting seamlessly to both 4G eNB and 5G gNB.โ€

๐–๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ข๐ง 5๐† ๐๐ž๐ฉ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฒ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ?

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 1 (๐ž๐๐ + ๐„๐๐‚):

It represents the foundational LTE (4G) connectivity deployment. In this configuration, the eNB connects to the 4G Core Network, forming the backbone of 4G cellular communication. This setup enables high-speed data transmission and typical 4G services.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 2 (๐ ๐๐ + 5๐†๐‚):

It entails a standalone 5G deployment. Here, the gNB (5G New Radio Base Station) connects directly to the 5G Core Network. This setup harnesses the full potential of 5G technology, enabling ultra-low latency, massive device connectivity, and advanced services like network slicing.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 3 (๐„๐๐‚ + 4๐† ๐ž๐๐ ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ + 5๐† ๐ž๐ง-๐ ๐๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ง๐๐š๐ซ๐ฒ):

One of the most popular options within the NSA (Non-Standalone) framework. It combines 4G (eNB master) and 5G (en-gNB secondary) components, both connected to the existing 4G EPC. This hybrid approach allows for the coexistence of 4G and 5G, enhancing data speeds while leveraging the 4G core networkโ€™s infrastructure.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 4 (5๐†๐‚ + 5๐† ๐ ๐๐ ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ + 4๐† ๐ง๐ -๐ž๐๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ง๐๐š๐ซ๐ฒ):

It represents a deployment where the 5G Core Network (5GC) is integrated with a primary 5G gNB and a secondary 4G ng-eNB. In this setup, 5G is the primary network, while 4G serves as a complementary technology.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 5 (๐ง๐ -๐๐ + 5๐†๐‚):

This is a deployment scenario where the Next-Generation eNodeB (ng-eNB) connects directly to the 5G Core Network (5GC). This configuration is characteristic of a standalone 5G (5G SA) deployment, offering the full suite of 5G capabilities independently.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 7 (5๐†๐‚ + 4๐  ๐ง๐ -๐ž๐๐ ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ + 5๐  ๐ ๐๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ง๐๐š๐ซ๐ฒ):

It features a deployment where the 5G Core Network (5GC) is at the core, with a primary 4G ng-eNB master and a secondary 5G gNB. In this setup, 4G serves as the primary access network, while 5G gNB acts as a supplementary technology.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 6 (4๐† ๐‚๐จ๐ซ๐ž + 5๐† ๐ ๐๐ ):

This configuration may not be as attractive because it doesnโ€™t fully leverage the capabilities of a 5G core network (5GC)

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 8 (5๐†๐‚ + 4๐† ๐ž๐๐ + 4๐† ๐ง๐ -๐ž๐๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ง๐๐š๐ซ๐ฒ):

The 5G Core Network (5GC) is deployed alongside a primary 4G eNB and a secondary 4G ng-eNB. This configuration may be used when transitioning from 4G to 5G, but it doesnโ€™t maximize the potential of 5G technology.

Credits: :point_down:


๐–๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ข๐ง 5๐† ๐๐ž๐ฉ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฒ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ?

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 3, 3๐š & 3๐ฑ:

All three options involve a control plane connection between the EPC and the eNB via the S1-C interface, as well as between the eNB and the gNB via the X2-C interface. Notably, there is no direct signaling traffic exchange between the EPC and the gNB. However, the distinctions among these options lie in how user plane traffic is routed, particularly in the downlink direction, although these principles also apply to the uplink.

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐œ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐จ๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ 3, 3๐š ๐š๐ง๐ 3๐ฑ?

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 3, user plane traffic originates from the EPC and is initially directed to the eNB. Here, the Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP) sublayer plays a pivotal role by dividing the traffic, allowing a portion of it to be transmitted to the gNB through the X2-U interface.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 3๐š, a notable change is that the EPC establishes a direct S1-U interface to the gNB. Within this option, the EPC is responsible for splitting the user plane traffic.

๐Ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง 3๐ฑ represents a hybrid approach where the EPC divides the user plane traffic for both the eNB and the gNB. Additionally, the gNBโ€™s PDCP sublayer can send certain portions of the traffic back to the eNB.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that a gNB connected to the EPC via the S1-U interface is referred to more specifically as an โ€œen-gNB.โ€ This en-gNBโ€™s connection is a part of E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity (EN-DC). The interface connecting the en-gNB and the eNB is denoted as the โ€œXx interface.โ€

LinkedIn: :point_down: