3GPP Release 16 interoperability interface for 5G

1st December 2020
Alex Lynn

Enea has announced that a tier one North American operator has deployed its 5G network data layer (NDL) solution, Stratum to create a 3GPP Release 16 interoperability interface in a 5G standalone (5GSA) environment. The interface will allow the mobile operator to bring together all network and subscriber data from across its 4G and 5G networks.     

Release 16, due to be launched later this year, places great emphasis on the interoperability between 4G and 5G providing a bridge between network generations. Using Release 16-compliant software, operators will be able to manage subscriptions and session data across access networks. This interoperability is crucial for a smooth user experience. Additionally, dynamic session data management allows operators to accelerate new service launches and to recover faster from any interruption – avoiding signaling storms in the 5G control plane.

Stratum, part of Enea’s 5G data management suite originally developed by Openwave Mobility, combines all system and subscriber data silos into a single network data layer. Aligned with 3GPP service based architecture this enables a distinct separation between 5G functions and their data. Using Stratum within the 5G Core, operators are able to define and manage their most valuable asset, data about their consumers- avoiding vendor-lock in and silos.

Dimitris Mavrakis, Senior Research Director at ABI Research, commented: “Release 16 will give operators an incredible amount of flexibility. In the past, most device data got siloed in proprietary vendor databases, which restricted new applications and innovation on the mobile network. Enea’s Stratum allows operators to unleash the full potential of private 5G networks and IoT. This is also important when it comes to making the transition from 4G to 5G - as painless as possible”.

Release 16 architecture also significantly simplifies operators’ ability to monetise 5G IoT, a market expected to grow rapidly. McKinsey & Company estimates that the total revenue for 5G IoT modules will increase from $180m in 2022 to over $10bn by 2030. This requires operators to put in place robust 5G Data Management solutions that can handle real-time authentication and securely share data across billions of devices. Stratum provides these capabilities in an open, cloud native manner. It enables the data to be written and updated once and read anywhere - from the core to the edge seamlessly and instantly.

“Our research found that one third of operators will look to deploy 5G SA over the next two years and the transition from 4G to 5G is well underway,” explained Indranil Chatterjee, Chief Customer Officer at Enea. “The Stratum interface will help operators to transition their subscriber data from 4G seamlessly and leverage all of the benefits that come with Release 16.” 

Enea provide mobiles operators with 5G-ready products for the mobile core originally developed by Openwave Mobility. Its 5G network data layer unifies subscriber and session data across network functions, while its video traffic management alleviates RAN congestion and maximises subscriber QOE.

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