Evolve your core network for 5G

Local Packet Gateway - edge user plane for on-premises and edge applications

5G Core (5GC)

Get to the core of 5G – a cloud native dual-mode 5G Core that combines EPC and 5GC network functions into a common cloud native platform for efficient TCO and smooth migration to 5G.

What is 5G Core?

5G Core (5GC) is the heart of a 5G mobile network. It establishes reliable, secure connectivity to the network for end users and provides access to its services. The core domain handles a wide variety of essential functions in the mobile network, such as connectivity and mobility management, authentication and authorization, subscriber data management and policy management, among others. 5G Core network functions are completely software-based and designed as cloud-native, meaning that they’re agnostic to the underlying cloud infrastructure, allowing higher deployment agility and flexibility.

With the advent of 5G, industry experts defined how the core network should evolve to support the needs of 5G New Radio (NR) and the advanced use cases enabled by it.

Together, they developed the new 3GPP standard for core networks known as 5G Core (5GC), which includes new network functions (NFs) to the Core Network. The figure below depicts the 5GC network architecture with some of its main NFs associated to the packet core and user data management domains.

3GPP 5G Core architecture

The new 5GC architecture is based on what is called a Service-Based Architecture (SBA), which implements IT network principles and a cloud-native design approach. In this new architecture, each network function (NF) offers one or more services to other NFs via Application Programming Interfaces (API). Each NF is formed by a combination of small pieces of software code called as microservices. Some microservices can even be re-used for different NFs, making implementation more effective and facilitating independent life-cycle management – which allows upgrades and new functionalities to be deployed with zero impact on running services.


3GPP 5G Core architecture

This diagram does not include all the network functions (NF) rather than focus on those that are most associated to the packet core and user data management domains.

All NFs shown in this diagram are part of Ericsson’s Cloud Core portfolio except for:

  • CHF (Ericsson’s BSS portfolio)
  • GMLC and LMF (Ericsson’s OSS portfolio)
  • (R)AN (Ericsson’s RAN portfolio)
  • AF that is a function outside CSPs’ domain
  • DN that is the data network being accessed by the UE (e.g., internet)


5G-EIR 5G Equipment Identity Register NSSF Network Slice Selection Function
AF Application Function NWDAF Network Data Analytics Function
AMF Access and Mobility Management Function PCF Policy Control Function
AUSF Authentication Server Function (R)AN (Radio) Access Network
CHF Charging Function SMF Session Management Function
GMLC Gateway Mobile Location Centre UE User Equipment
LMF Location Management Function UDM Unified Data Management
DN Data Network UDR User Data Repository
NEF Network Exposure Function UPF User Plane Function
NRF NF Repository Function    

You’ve probably heard about advanced 5G use cases which, thanks to ultra-low network latency and very high throughputs, will revolutionize businesses and the day-to-day lives of consumers. But none of those will be possible without 5G Core (5GC). Alongside 5G new radio (NR), 5G Core is a fundamental cornerstone of 5G networks. ​

Currently, the vast majority of commercial 5G deployments are based on NR non-standalone (NSA) technology which uses existing LTE radio access for signaling between devices and the network, and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networks which are enhanced to support 5G NSA. This approach allows new 5G services to be introduced quickly while maximizing the reuse of existing 4G networks. However, to unlock 5G’s full potential NR standalone (SA) and 5G Core (5GC) is needed. ​

The new 5GC architecture addresses the needs of not just today, but the future – raising mobile communications to unprecedented levels and making it possible to digitalize entire societies.

In short, 5GC is a fundamental piece of the 5G network to:

  • enhance end user experience (UX)
  • simplify network operations
  • increase service creation agility
  • improve network capabilities 

What are the key characteristics and benefits from 5G Core (5GC) and New Radio (NR) standalone?

Click here for details.

A multi-access core: Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core

5G Core implements the new 3GPP network architecture that will unleash the full power of 5G standalone enabling faster connectivity speeds, ultra-low latency, and higher bit rates and network reliability. These capabilities, combined with network automation, network slicing and edge computing, are instrumental to address multiple verticals and enable an ecosystem for innovation with use cases such as: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) and Time-Critical Communication (TCC).

However, these new 5G networks will co-exist side by side with 4G ones for many years, while at the same time efficiencies need to be improved in order to capture new opportunities.​

The Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core solution is our answer how to address the introduction of the new 5G Core network architecture while enabling an efficient co-existence with deployed 4G Core networks, as well as to leverage the benefits from new technologies such as cloud native to legacy networks.  The Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core is built on cloud-native, microservices-based technology and combines Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and the new 5G Core (5GC) network functions into a common multi-access and cloud-native platform that supports 5G and as well as previous generations for optimized footprint and TCO efficiency. It is an evolution of our powerful virtualized portfolio, designed for cloud deployment, consisting of our Cloud Packet Core, Cloud Unified Data Management (UDM) and Policy and Signaling Controller products. Explore our demos to know more.


For higher deployment flexibility and operational efficiency, we have grouped all 5G and 4G network functions into different products according to the services they deliver to the network.

The solution also includes a co-located network data analytics function (NWDAF) and bulit-in software probes to enhance customer experience from data-driven networks that learn and improve, and an integrated firewall to increase 5G network security.​ It also includes network exposure capabilities including an embedded Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) management module to enable service providers to explore new business opportunities with increased network programmability.

The dual-mode 5G Core enable CSPs to:

  • Introduce 5G quickly and effectively while protecting existing services​
  • Have a controlled and smooth migration to 5G aligned to business needs
  • Address new segments with flexibility and agility​
  • Reduce cost and increase performance with cloud native design
  • Quickly introduce new functionality and do maintenance updates
  • Provide optimal support for Network Slicing and Edge deployments

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core | Video | 2 min.

What can Ericsson dual-mode 5G Core do for you?

Watch this video for an overview of our multi-access, high-performance and cost-effective core platform for 5G above or explore our assets below to gain more insights.


Accelerate your network to 5G Core

How to prepare your network to 5G Core | Guide series

A core network for 5G is more than 5G Core. The adoption of cloud-native technology and the new 5G Core architecture will impact other parts of the core network as infrastructure, voice services, automation and orchestration, operations and management and security.

Explore all of these different areas, that will form the foundation of your cloud-native core network for 5G, and learn what you need to do to prepare them to release 5G’s full potential in your network.

Access all guides | Watch our on-demand webinar View our infographic 

Evolving from EPC to 5GC | Video | 5 min.

The network evolution from EPC to 5G core plays a central role in creating a network platform for CSPs to extract more value and become contributors in existing and emerging ecosystems.​ However, the journey to a full 5G Core implies a technology shift with the adoption of the new 3GPP defined service-based architecture and network functions built on cloud native technology.​ 

Download our guide and infographic on evolving from EPC to 5G Core and learn about our smooth migration alternatives.

Download our guide 

Migrate to 5G with TCO efficiency

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is always a hot topic. However, during technology shifts and business transformations it becomes crucial.

5G Core enables new ways of achieving challenging business and operational goals.

Our solution helps you:​

  • Manage traffic growth with CAPEX efficiency​
  • Reduce OPEX and operational inefficiencies​
  • Grow revenue with agility and speed​
  • Deployment flexibility and a smooth evolution to 5G​
  • Manage TCO during the migration to 5G
  • Reduce OPEX in software updates and upgrades with CI/CD

Read our TCO benefits paper: Executive summary | Full version

CI/CD | Video | 2 min.

Watch video to see how our software approach will help you stay competitive today and in five years from now. Read more about the digital transformation and benefits with CI/CD in telecom networks.

Industry Insights

On-demand webinar | 5G Core: Exploring CSP approches

Join this TM Forum webinar to understand the move to 5GC and assess its impact on the telecoms industry and its customers. Hear analysis of the potential 5G Core market and and how CSPs can seize the opportunites. 

Mobility report | 5G SA deployment: Moving beyond eMBB

Read the article about the key drivers for CSPs to deploy 5G standalone – the road to new services and business models.

Demos | More case studies and insights | Overview

Get more insights and deep dives about 5G Core.

Publicly announced 5G contracts | Overview

Several CSPs have partnered with us. Check the latest information on our 5G agreements.


TPG Telecom | Cloud transformation with NFVI | Case

Explore how TPG Telecom has paved the way for a simplified and efficient network providing fast time to market for new offerings.

Rogers | Canada’s first national 5G standalone network | Case

Read the story of how Rogers became the first operator to deploy 5G standalone services nationwide in Canada.

Singtel | Transforming Singapore's future with 5G | Case

Learn about Singtel’s journey to a 5G Standalone network that offers blazing fast speeds, hyperconnectivity, and a myriad of possibilities for both enterprise and consumers.

Vodafone | Deployment of Europe’s first 5G standalone core | Case

Shaping Germany’s 5G future with 5G standalone and cloud-native 5G Core.

Latest solution update

Ericsson Local Packet Gateway

Embrace the edge opportunity in virtual and hybrid private 5G networks. Learn about our optimized dual-mode user plane footprint, the pre-integrated solution and secure fast time-to-service with lifecycle management optimized for the edge.

Ericsson Edge Exposure Server

Ericsson Edge Exposure Server provides simplified and feature enrichments APIs for edge applications, such as user equipment information API, network QoS API and location API. And to reduce complexity for developers and needed system integration when deploying new services, harmonized service APIs addition to standard APIs are provided.

HSM security

The Ericsson Authentication Security Module offers premium security to enhance end-user privacy protection in the 5G era by integrating a Hardware Security Module (HSM) to Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core solution. Learn how.

5G network data analytics function

5G network data analytics function (NWDAF) is designed to streamline the way core network data is produced and consumed, as well as to generate insights and take actions to enhance end-user experience. Learn how Ericsson’s unique value proposition allows you to benefit from the standard.​

Hybrid Cloud

Enabling 5G Core on any infrastructure. 

Learn more

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