Oracle looking from non-standalone 5G NR to standalone 5G NR

Current and near-term standards-based 5G deployments are focused on the non-standalone 5G New Radio specification, but that’s just a first step. That will be followed by an upgrade cycle to the standalone 5G NR spec, which contemplates a completely new radio access and core network, whereas NSA 5G NR uses the LTE core and RAN with the addition of a 5G component carrier. Here we discuss that next step with two executives from the Oracle Communications business group.

Lenns said Oracle is advancing its 5G strategy in two ways. “The first is we’re advancing our on-premise portfolio of 5G signaling in the control plane…from the routing and selection domain and the interworking functions. We’re also advancing our development in the policy domain. It’s clear the operators, the early adopters, are funding their budgets to build out their RAN infrastructure. What we’re seeing now is they’re starting to lay out, early adopters are starting to lay out, budgets for core deployments. That’s the one initiative that we’re pursuing in our strategy is to penetrate that spend with our 5G core elements on-prem.”

The second part of the strategy is “building out a network slice-as-a-service. That would enable the creation of a slice serving a use case, so it’s giving both the CSP and the enterprise players an opportunity to subscribe to a slice for a particular use case, which is really exciting because it’s going to give them a fast opportunity to try out new use cases for their customers without a heavy capex and opex investment. Depending on the success rate of the use case, they can continue to subscribe to it or they can move it into their own cloud for scale if they choose to scale it that way.”

“On the first avenue,” Lenns said, “we’re seeing RFI and RFP activity that we’re participating in. The second avenue is a very early phase and I think we’re going to be engaging more and more with customers on that second option in the coming year.”

Oracle Communications’ Director of Cybersecurity Travis Russell commented on how the long-term move to a cloud-native architecture highlights security-related decisions.

“That’s the big question of the hour is what are the considerations and what should operators be thinking about as they start deploying 5G, especially since we’re taking critical assets that have traditionally been on hardened platforms, isolated platforms, and putting them into the cloud.”

As network functions become virtualized and operators introduce software-defined networking solutions, Russel said there needs to be a focus on “hardening hypervisors, looking into container security mechanisms and making sure critical assets are isolated using physical isolation rather than logical isolation. Within Oracle, obviously security is front and center, not just in the communications business unit. There’re quite a few capabilities we built into Oracle cloud…and all of the security functions we’ve built into cloud, we’re wrapping around our 5G offers.”


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