Guidance Out Now on 5G’s Standalone Option 2 Configuration

Since 2018, the mobile industry has witnessed the adoption of 5G for broadband use cases, namely Fixed Wireless Access and enhanced Mobile Broadband using non-standalone (NSA) configuration Option 3. While there are more 5G use cases such as Massive Internet of Things (mIoT) and Ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) to be addressed, the introduction of 5G core is vital to tailor the operator networks to those use cases. In this context, the standalone (SA) configuration with 5G core is indispensable to realise the full 5G vision.

China Telecom is already operating commercial SA networks in Shenzhen and deploying nationwide SA commercial networks. Also, it has fully demonstrated its effective role in helping battle COVID-19 in early 2020, by providing a chain of critical teleservices, including (but not limited to) telemedicine and HD Live, which are full 5G use cases.

Liu Guiqing, Executive Vice President of China Telecom, said: “5G SA Option 2 can meet various and more stringent requirements and provide optimal & differentiated solutions, whereby empowering more businesses and unlocking the potential of countless services. 5G is on the way of changing our society and life.” Therefore, it was natural for China Telecom to share its experiences and learnings in deploying SA Option2. China Telecom has led the work in GSMA to create “5G Implementation Guidelines: SA Option 2” that provides guidance on the technological, spectrum and regulatory considerations for operators navigating deployment options for SA Option 2.

With contributions from nearly 30 leading players in the telecoms sector including operators, infrastructure providers, and device and chipset companies, the document provides an overview of what is required for SA Option 2 deployment. For example, the document includes guidance via checklists and diagrams on key technical features, deployment strategies, and instructions for backhaul, radio and core networks, devices and services.

Furthermore, this edition of the Implementation Guidelines, therefore, explores relevant issues and challenges such as approaches to AI’s role in SA Option 2, including in energy efficiency, resource utilisation, maintenance and innovative services. Addressing these challenges will prove crucial when working with the vertical industry partners whose participation will help deliver commercial sustainability for 5G deployments.

Among the most important uses for SA Option 2 is in supporting voice services, SMS and conversational video, so this document sets out the two major solutions to establishing the relevant architecture. Also considered here is information on interworking between 4G and 5G networks, and advice on migration from NSA Option 3 to SA Option 2 where this is desired – generally speaking migration to SA Option 2 can be seen as an important evolutionary direction, and these guidelines support operators seeking to make that transition.

The 5G Implementation Guidelines are intended to ease the impact on operators of launch and transition to 5G and help to maximise the commercial viability of the system as a whole. Read on for detailed information on how this can be done alongside the above, including direction on network slicing, how 5G networks can be rationalised and apportioned according to use case for maximum economic efficiency. We very much hope this document assists you in your 5G deployment strategies, and look forward to working with the industry on future editions.

To download the 5G Implementation Guidelines: SA Option 2, please click here.