Reference-based architecture and Service-based architecture are two different approaches to organizing network components in 5G systems.
- Reference-based architecture :
Point-to-point connections : Network components are connected through specific, pre-defined point-to-point connections.
Static relationships : The relationships between network components are relatively fixed and rigid, making it less flexible for changes or updates.
Less modular : Components in reference-based architecture are less modular, which means modifying one part of the system can have a more significant impact on other parts.
Example: Traditional 4G architecture and early 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) deployments often used reference-based architecture.
- Service-based architecture (SBA) :
Network functions as services : In SBA, network components are designed as modular services that can be accessed and used by other components as needed.
API-driven communication : Components communicate using standardized APIs, allowing for more flexible and efficient communication between different parts of the network.
Easier scaling and updates : Thanks to its modularity and flexible communication, SBA allows for easier scaling, adding new services, and updating existing components without affecting the entire system.
Example: 5G Standalone (SA) deployments and core networks utilize service-based architecture for improved flexibility, scalability, and efficiency.
In summary, reference-based architecture is characterized by point-to-point connections , static relationships , and less modularity . In contrast, service-based architecture revolves around network functions as services , API-driven communication , and easier scaling and updates . SBA is the preferred approach for modern 5G Standalone deployments due to its flexibility and efficiency.