Succeeded in domestic production and cost reduction of 5GC, NEDO’s 5G core technology – fabcross for engineers

The University of Tokyo, Internet Enterprise Japan (IIJ), APRESIA Systems, and Fujitsu will participate in the NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) “Post-5G Information System Infrastructure Improvement Research and Development Project / Lead Research (Commissioned)” on November 24, 2022. In Japan, it announced that it has worked on the “open source software development of a local 5G / 6G mobile system” and made a 5G core network (5GC), which is the core technology of the 5G mobile phone. network, domestically produced and low cost. It is expected to lead to local 5G deployment in various industrial fields.

This time, IIJ, APRESIA, and Fujitsu implemented 5GC as a “practical version” with commercial-level functions, performance and stability based on open source software (OSS). In addition, the University of Tokyo has combined its existing intellectual property with the newly developed 5GC to improve the functions responsible for data transmission and path selection (UPF: User Plane Function). A new patent application has been filed.

The advanced 5GC is a compact operation that can efficiently manage several to thousands of lines, unlike 5GC for large telecommunications carriers, which is supposed to manage tens of millions of lines.

Developed based on “free5GC”, which is developed worldwide as OSS, the burden of intellectual property costs is reduced, so it is possible to build a large number of small 5G systems as local 5G. suitable It is implemented as software running on general purpose equipment (COTS), and can be maximized by converting 5GC in the cloud.

free5GC adds functions based on IIJ knowledge. Using APRESIA and Fujitsu technology, we have improved performance and verified stability, raising the quality to a level that can be used as a commercial product. Additionally, we have just defined a “closed strategy.” We have established a “collaborative area” where development results are returned (open) to society, and a “competitive area” where we occupy (closed) to maintain excellence in the market environment.

Improvements in free5GC implemented within the project are fed back to the free5GC development team as results belonging to the collaborative area, and the results can be used worldwide. In addition, as a result of belonging to a competitive field, we applied for the latest information about the university as intellectual property. We have also paved the way for a business model that transfers technology to venture companies launched by universities.

The technology that makes up mobile phone networks is a common global standard, but many of the communication devices used are produced by foreign manufacturers, and much of the intellectual property is under the control of foreign companies. In predicting the future, it is a challenge to have products that Japanese companies and researchers can handle independently. 5GC, which is software that manages mobile phone networks, was required to be produced domestically and at low cost in order to realize 5G “local” 5G communication networks used in specific areas.

In the future, APRESIA and Fujitsu will continue to release updated versions of the “local 5G system” that combines the advanced 5GC with each company’s 5G base stations and terminal equipment. IIJ will promote the development of communication services that can use multiple local 5G networks using the advanced 5GC and public 5G networks provided by IIJ as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) for roaming. The University of Tokyo plans to supply the results of this development to an integrated local 5G system from a university-launched venture company.

An image of a “local 5G system” commercialized by APRESIA and Fujitsu

Image of multiple local 5G systems promoted by IIJ

In addition, we will explore products and services that use the advanced 5GC, and conduct research and development on open base station (NR) equipment operating on public clouds. In the future, it is expected that the social implementation of the practical version will make it possible to introduce a local 5G system used in specific areas at a lower cost than before, leading to the spread of local 5G.

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