With the promise of high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity for both fixed and mobile endpoints, ubiquitous 5G coverage will fundamentally change the way people and devices communicate. While there has been much focus on new radio (NR) network technologies, the benefits of 5G can only be fully realized with commensurate innovations in the mobile core infrastructure. To meet the diverse demands of end users, massive sensor grids, and communications service providers, the 5G Core (5GC) completely separates control and user plane functions, moving significant data plane components into distributed multi-access edge computing (MEC) facilities while supporting a centralized service based architecture (SBA) for delivering intelligent network operations. Demanding the granular scalability of end-to-end network slices, the promise of 5G can only be realized with a core built entirely on cloud native constructs with virtualized network functions (VNFs).
These VNFs must employ highly distributed software architectures, be implemented on dynamic compute resource pools, and feature massive deployment and configuration automation. While SBA elements must be built from scratch using microservices methodologies to support stateless instantiation in container-based environments, cost-effectively implementing powerful user plane packet processors on general purpose compute platforms requires significant innovations in data plane acceleration techniques.