Move to a communications network that maximizes the use of the cloud for communications infrastructure in the post-5G era
TOKYO, Nov. 24, 2022 — (JCN Newswire) — The University of Tokyo, Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ), APRESIA and Fujitsu Limited have successfully developed open source software for 5G/6G private mobile system, achieving domestic production , low-cost 5G core network (5GC), the core technology of 5G mobile network. The initiative was carried out by the partners within the framework of the NEDO research and development project on the feasibility study of improved infrastructures for post-5G information and communication systems (under contract).
|Figure 1: Image of newly developed 5GC|
|Figure 2: Image of the private 5G system marketed by APRESIA and Fujitsu|
|Figure 3: Image of several private 5G systems promoted by the IIJ|
5GC software plays a central role in controlling mobile phone networks, but the need for domestic production and cost reduction present ongoing challenges in making related technologies, such as private 5G, a reality. With the development of this new technology, IIJ, APRESIA and Fujitsu have developed a practical version of 5GC based on Open Source software with commercial level functionality, performance and stability based on Open Source software. The University of Tokyo has provided a User Plane Function (UPF) that handles more advanced data transfer and route selection by combining 5GC with previously known properties and has applied for a new patent.
The partners anticipate that the eventual deployment of this technology in the real world will allow users to introduce lower-cost private 5G systems for use in practical settings, leading to wider adoption of private 5G across various industries. The combination of multiple private 5G networks and 5G services provided by major telecom operators will ultimately provide more versatile communication environments than individual private 5G networks alone.
5G mobile networks are beginning to be used not only as a means of communication, as is the case with phones and smartphones, but also in critical infrastructure systems that support society, such as payments and logistics. . Although the technology that makes up mobile networks is based on a common global standard, most of the communication equipment used in real mobile networks is manufactured by vendors outside of Japan, who also hold numerous intellectual property patents for the related technologies. This poses a possible risk to market competition and economic security, making it an important priority for Japanese companies and researchers to proactively develop products and technologies in anticipation of post-5G communication standards and generation that are expected to emerge after 2025. , it is hoped that industry-university-government collaboration will lead to the development of practical communication devices and problem solving.
In this context, in Japan, NEDO conducted its “Research and Development Project of Improved Infrastructure for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems (1) / Feasibility Study (Contract)” around the theme “Development of open source software for Local5G / 6G mobile systems.” The initiative, which ran for two years from October 2020 to October 2022, resulted in the partners successfully developing core technology for 5G mobile network technology that can be produced domestically at low cost.
2. Main results of this project
Development of the 5G core network (2)
Unlike the 5GC for major telcos, which is designed to handle tens of millions of lines, the 5GC developed in this project is a compact implementation that can efficiently handle several to several thousand lines. Development based on free software (3) has also reduced the burden of intellectual property costs. This makes it suitable for environments where many small-scale 5G systems, such as private 5G, need to be built. Because it is implemented as software that runs on Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS), 5GC can also be cloud-based for maximum utilization.
Open and closed strategies
The 5GC developed in this project is based on free5GC, which is developed by engineers around the world as Open Source software. In general, Open Source software is superior in terms of transparency because all the source code is publicly available, so it is possible to verify the inclusion of programs with malicious intentions. On the other hand, some Open Source software lacks the necessary functions for commercial use, and there are technical issues such as insufficient performance and stability verification.
In this project, based on knowledge from IIJ, which operates commercial networks, the partners added functions to free5GC, improved its performance and verified its stability using technology from APRESIA and Fujitsu, which develops many commercial network products, and have raised its quality to a level where it can be used as a commercial product. The ability of Japanese companies to provide highly practical 5GC with transparency is also important from an economic security perspective.
This project redefines the open and closed strategy, establishing collaborative zones in which development results are returned to society (open) and competitive zones that are occupied (closed) to maintain an advantageous position in the environment of the market. As a result belonging to the collaborative domain, the improvement areas of free5GC implemented in the project are returned to the free5GC development team, and the results are available worldwide. In this way, the presence of Japanese companies in an open development environment is significant not only in the post-5G era, but also in taking the lead in next-generation communication standards. To achieve results in the field of competition, the partners have applied for patents for the university’s latest discoveries to help raise the level of Japan’s industrial competitiveness, acquire intellectual property to compete in the market. world and contribute to the revitalization of the economy. They are also paving the way for business models that transfer technology from universities to venture companies.
3. Future projects
APRESIA and Fujitsu will continuously release solutions for private 5G networks that combine the 5GC technology developed under this project and 5G base stations and terminal equipment manufactured by each company. The IIJ will also encourage the development of communication services that can use multiple private 5G networks using the 5GC developed under this project and the public 5G networks provided by the IIJ as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). through roaming. In addition, the University of Tokyo plans to contribute the results of this development to an integrated private 5G system from a venture company launched by the university.
Going forward, the University of Tokyo will work with companies to further promote industry-university collaborations around finding solutions and services that use the 5GC technology developed in this project, as well as conduct R&D activities on open base station equipment (NR: New Radio) that runs on the public cloud to accelerate efforts to advance cloud-native 5G mobile network technologies.
(1) Reinforced Infrastructure Research and Development Project for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems:
Project name: Project for research and development of improved infrastructures for post-5G information and communication systems
Project period: From FY2019
Project summary: www.nedo.go.jp/activities/ZZJP_100172.html (in Japanese)
(2) 5G core network:
Post-5G core networks will require advanced technologies related to virtualization and IT resource management in order to efficiently handle huge amounts of traffic with the lowest possible power consumption and at the lowest possible cost, while meeting the requirements of various departments. Additionally, in order to meet the demand for low latency and high reliability, we may see a significant shift in the future from processing in huge single data centers to cloud-based central networks that utilize multiple resources. geographically dispersed computers.
(3) Free Software:
The source code is open to the public and may be used, modified, and redistributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes, and is being actively adopted by companies for commercial products and services, especially for general-purpose libraries.
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Source: Fujitsu Ltd.
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