All U.S. carriers deployed their initial 5G networks in non-standalone (NSA) mode, which relies on 4G LTE as its backbone. With 5G standalone, the 5G network is entirely separate from the carriers’ 4G infrastructure, which will offer some major benefits.
Verizon has completed their first test data session on its 5G standalone core network, and they are on track to start shifting traffic over from the current 4G-backed network to the standalone 5G network later this year.
“The 5G standalone core is critical for unleashing the most advanced benefits of 5G technology including remarkable levels of programmability to manage the advanced solutions and exponential traffic that 5G will bring,” said Bill Stone, Vice President of Planning for Verizon.
Verizon’s 5G standalone core is comprised of software applications, compute, networking, and storage, and also combines built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). These technologies will let Verizon allocate network resources for specific applications (AKA “network slicing”) and automate network configuration changes, meaning they will be able to scale up or down to prioritize certain services and resources as needed.
Verizon anticipates to be ready for full commercialization of its 5G standalone core in 2021.