5G New Radio Architecture Deployment Options
Whenever you are confronting with 5G New Radio deployment, you would certainly hear there are several options. We are going to walk through what choices are available and exactly how to comprehend them in terms of specs.
Architecture Options related to Dual Connectivity variants
Below are the 3 options families which are among the hottest topics of operators and are based on Dual connectivity. These families would be called as Non-Standalone (NSA).
- Option 3 (3/3a/3x) family or EN-DC (E-UTRA - New Radio Dual Connectivity): eNB is working as Master (MeNB) and gNB is working as Secondary (SgNB), and they are both connected to EPC
Option 3x would be the common option amongst operators that would be used to launch 5G services. It allows them to save budget on eNodeb side as well as focus on investing on gNodeB, and after that use the 5G user plan via both eNB and gNB. I
- Option 7 (7/7a/7x) family or NGEN-DC (Next Generation E-UTRA - New Radio Dual Connectivity): eNB is working as Master (MeNB) and gNB is working as Secondary (SgNB), and both are connected to 5G Core
With option 7 (7/7a/7x) family, the same Radio Access Network itself is not changed from option 3 family, but instead the RAN is connected to 5G Core Network.
- Option 4 (4/4a) family or NE-DC (Next Generation - E-UTRA Dual Connectivity): gNB is working as Master (MgNB) and eNB is working as Secondary (SeNB), and they are both connected to 5G Core
If option 3x is chosen, and once 5G Core Network is deployed option 7x would be the following option they would go to. After that they would certainly go to option 4 family or go directly to option 2. However some operatos would love to jump directly on option 2 which is the target architecture and skip dual Connectivity steps.
More options are available
In total we have 8 options defines by 3GPP below are the rest of them :
- Option 1: eNB is working with EPC (So called legacy LTE architecture.)
- Option 2 or Standalone (SA) NR: gNB is working with 5GC (Final stage along with the migration route.)
- Option 5 or Standalone (SA) eLTE: eNB is working with 5GC (I am not sure if this option makes sense )
- Option 6: gNB is working with EPC (Does it make sense? It has not been finalized in specifications.)
- Option 8 family: gNB is working as Master (MgNB) and eNB is working as Secondary (SeNB), and both are connected EPC (Who might use this? It has not been finalized in specifications.)