5G standalone (5G SA)
In 5G standalone, thanks to its service-based architecture, service providers and enterprises can easily activate new capabilities and expose them through APIs. It enables the creation of innovative applications, services and solutions with differentiated connectivity, allowing service providers to define different performance levels and degree of traffic isolation. Take your first steps to 5G standalone today.
5G standalone explained
5G standalone takes 5G performance to new heights, bringing new capabilities that deliver a more powerful user experience, enhanced network efficiency, and a world of new business opportunities.
Unlike 5G non-standalone networks, 5G standalone is based exclusively on cloud-native 5G Core and 5G new radio architecture. This flexible and programmable cloud-native service-based architecture means that service providers can upgrade, create and deploy new services in hours rather than days or weeks, without impacting live services.
And the benefits don’t stop there. 5G standalone-exclusive features such as network exposure, edge computing, and network slicing are raising the stakes for 5G service delivery – making networks more programmable, breaking out traffic at the network edge, and providing differentiated connectivity with guaranteed quality of service.
Experience the full power of 5G, without limits.
5G standalone: the facts
- Target 5G architecture based on the 3GPP New Radio standard
- Simplified RAN and device architecture
- New cloud-native 5G Core, built on a service-based architecture
- Enables ultra-low latency
- The only option to provide same 5G coverage for low band as legacy system through multi-band carrier aggregation
- Supports advanced network-slicing functions
- Facilitates a wider range of use cases for new devices
Why move to 5G standalone?
The migration to 5G Standalone architecture offers a world of benefits for service providers, including:
- Next-level network performance, enhancing existing services such as enhanced mobile broadband, and laying a foundation for future use case evolution
- More opportunities to grow market share and addressing new customer segments and use cases for top-line growth
- New pathways to become a service creator, moving beyond being a connectivity provider
- Faster development of innovative services with 5G technology
- Quicker validation of new business opportunities in real-life scenarios
5G standalone: new revenue streams unlocked
5G standalone rollouts are rapidly increasing among leading service providers worldwide, unlocking transformative new revenue possibilities across enterprises, consumers, governments, and public services.
Key revenue enablers
Featured business cases
ITN and Vodafone’s broadcast of King Charles’ coronation in the UK was one of the first global events to utilize network slicing on a public 5G standalone (SA) network, powered by Ericsson’s 5G RAN and 5G Core technology.
5G standalone: key benefits and capabilities
Powerful user experience
Consistency low latency
5G standalone enables ultra-low latency in the milliseconds, supported by lower handover interruption time and other enablers, to deliver close to real-time communication with zero lag.
Better spectral efficiency
Advanced Multi-Layer Coordination, and increased LTE offload to 5G spectrum enables higher uplink and downlink data rates. Ericsson’s 5G standalone software toolkit enhances support for experience-based connectivity with high requirements on throughput, reliability, and latency.
5G standalone multi-band carrier aggregation, including uplink carrier aggregation, can leverage multiple 5G spectrum frequencies to significantly improve uplink and downlink capacity across wider areas.
5G standalone unlocks new 5G voice (VoNR) capabilities to enable near-instant call connections, lower latency voice communication, and higher quality audio through wider bandwidth.
Enhanced network efficiency
Higher energy efficiency
5G SA allow users to spend more time in 5G than 5G NSA which reduce the energy used per gigabyte transmitted.
Advanced device support
Through RedCap device support and reduced signaling of the Inactive State feature, 5G standalone enables reduced device latency, complexity, and battery consumption, laying the groundwork for use case evolution.
Service agility and scale
5G Core’s cloud-native service-based architecture and cross-domain service orchestration means microservices can be scaled, reused and upgraded with minimal impact on running services.
Enhanced end-to-end security
Advanced encryption and identity protection is delivered through the 5G Core-integrated Ericsson Authentication Security Module, providing end-to-end security of 5G standalone networks.
5G standalone vs 5G non-standalone
Early 5G networks have been based on 5G non-standalone architecture, using a 5G Radio Access Network that anchors to existing Evolved Packet Core networks. 5G standalone, on the other hand, anchors to a cloud-native 5G Core network using service-based architecture. This lays the foundation for faster, automated, and more agile service orchestration, as well as enabling a host of powerful 5G performance- and service enablers.
How to upgrade to 5G standalone
Three routes to 5G standalone: how to get there
Route 1: LTE > 5G non-standalone > 5G standalone
Service providers deploying 5G non-standalone architecture as an intermediate step to full 5G standalone architecture. This has made it possible for service providers to switch on 5G services as quickly as possible, while using LTE as a fallback.
Learn more about Swisscom’s journey from LTE to 5G non-standalone
Route 2: LTE > 5G standalone
Service providers that take the more direct migration route from LTE radio access and EPC networks to full 5G standalone architecture from day one. One notable example is Indian service provider Jio that adopted a forward-looking 5G strategy from the get-go, providing differentiated services shaped by the inherent capabilities of 5G standalone.
Learn more about Jio’s journey from LTE to 5G standalone
Route 3: 5G standalone
Service providers and enterprises deploying a cellular network for the very first time, for example public greenfield deployments, or private deployments of dedicated- or campus 5G networks.
5G Core is the starting point for a migration to 5G standalone
There are three deployment phases that contribute to the full 5G standalone experience. It’s important to plan when and how to embark on each phase of your transformation journey according to your business and network needs, and technology maturity.
Learn more in our guide series for deploying cloud-native 5G Core.
Phase 1: A focus on small-scale, exploratory deployments
Focus on deploying 5G Standalone services on a small scale, covering selected cities or even blocks. Consider deploying 5G Core network functions (NFs) just for the packet core domain and delaying others, such as subscriber data management, policy, and signaling. With low complexity at this stage, there is little need to broaden automation and orchestration offerings.
Phase 2: Expanding capabilities
Begin expanding coverage and capacity of your 5G Standalone network, as well as adding new NFs, such as subscription data management, to a live cloud-native packet core network. Here, your need for automation and orchestration capabilities will increase, requiring new tools for more efficient network management. Modernization of some network domains, such as moving into a bare-metal cloud infrastructure or deploying VoNR services, may also be covered in this phase.
Phase 3: Enriching innovation and services
By this stage, you can begin to enrich your network with new capabilities that will enable more innovation and monetization, for example across enterprise and industry segments, as well as expanding the complete ecosystem with application developers. This requires a focus on innovative network slicing solutions, edge computing and network APIs’ exposure.
Begin your journey to 5G standalone with Ericsson
As a 5G market leader, supporting network deployments around the globe, we’re here to help you plan for a smooth migration to 5G standalone networks – tailored to your business and technology goals.