In December 2017, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) approved the first 5G radio and core network specifications.  These initial specifications refer to the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) specification that will form the basis of commercial 5G products.  The NSA specification outlines the use of 5G NR with the legacy evolved packet core (EPC) network that was constructed for LTE (4G) radio base stations.  The standalone (SA) version of the 5G specification is scheduled to be complete in June 2018. The SA version will define the full user and control plane capability for 5G NR using the new 5G core network architecture.


The new 5G core (5GC) network elements, and where they fit within Exact Ventures’ coverage areas, are as follows:

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5G Core Definitions

Packet Core

AMF: Access and Mobility Management Function

SMF: Session Management Function

UPF: User Plane Function

N3 IWF: N3 (user-plane interface) Interworking Function


Policy & Slicing

PCF: Policy Control Function

NEF: Network Exposure Function

NRF: Network Function (NF) Repository Function

NSSF: Network Slice Selection Function



SEPP: Security Edge Protection Proxy

Viewed another way, 5G Core network elements are an extension to existing Exact Ventures network coverage, which is critical in measuring market transitions and market share shifts between generations of technologies and networks:

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