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The digital era is here and growing stronger led by technological advances such as 5G.

The Future of Retail report says that 89% of retailers rely on technology to improve customer experience. And, 96% of retailers use technology to improve operational efficiency. In this way 5G networks will act as a catalyst in the digital transformation journey of organizations big and small.

According to 3GPP, 5G is exactly where it should be, yet still evolving. Organizations that don’t have a 5G plan in place will suffer the consequences for years to come.

Many feel 2021 will be a pivotal year for 5G networks as the major carriers unveil their standalone (SA) versions of 5G.

As the name implies, standalone 5G does not rely on its predecessor 4G for any of its technological magic. For the first couple of years of 5G’s rollout in the United States, consumers had to settle on more of a hybrid watered down version of 5G while 5G infrastructures were established.

3GPP TR 21.915 defines the two deployments of 5G: 

–The “Non-Stand Alone” (NSA) architecture, where the 5G Radio Access Network (AN) and its New Radio (NR) interface is used in conjunction with the existing LTE and EPC infrastructure Core Network (respectively 4G Radio and 4G Core), thus making the NR technology available without network replacement. In this configuration, only the 4G services are supported, but enjoying the capacities offered by the 5G New Radio (lower latency, etc.). The NSA is also known as “E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity (EN-DC)” or “Architecture Option 3.”

–The “Stand-Alone” (SA) architecture, where the NR is connected to the 5G CN. Only in this configuration, the full set of 5G Phase 1 services are supported. 

The benefits of standalone 5G over non-standalone are considerable, including:

  • MNOs can launch new enterprise 5G services such as smart cities, and smart factories
  • It is fully virtualized, cloud-native architecture (CNA), which introduces new ways to develop, deploy and manage services
  • The architecture enables end to end slicing to logically separate services
  • Automation drives up efficiencies while driving down the cost of operating the networks. 
  • By standardizing on a cloud-native approach, MNOs can also rely on best of breed innovation from both vendors and the open-source communities 
  • By choosing a cloud-native microservices-based architecture, MNOs can also decide on a variety of deployment models such as on-prem private cloud, public cloud, or hybrid to meet their business objectives

Want to learn more? Tonex offers 5G Training Bootcamp, a 5-day course that  targets networking and IT professionals who wish to gain critical skills in 5G technology including fundamentals of 5G, strategies for planning and implementation, B2C and B2B products and services, radio and core networks, 5G mmWave, Service Based Architecture (SBA), cloud RAN, edge computing and MEC, network slicing, 5G optimizations, 5G cybersecurity and more.

Tonex offers more than three dozen additional courses in 5G Wireless such as:

5G Network Essentials (2 days)

5G Position and Location Services (2 days)

5G RF Engineering Training Bootcamp (3 days)

5G for Federal Government (2 days)

Fundamentals of 5G Network Slicing (2 days)

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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