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Introducing Samsung's 5G Open Lab, 5G Innovation Hub


Introducing Samsung's 5G Open Lab, the 5G Innovation Hub

The 5G network is well on its way to bringing unprecedented mobile experience to users around the world.

  • Wonsik Kim

    Practice Leader of Core S/W Development Team, Samsung Networks

The 5G network is well on its way to bringing unprecedented mobile experience to users around the world. A key enabler behind these innovative 5G services is the use of a Service-Based Architecture (SBA), which is a set of interconnected Network Functions (NFs) where various components from different vendors can be easily integrated using a uniform interface. This architecture has become especially meaningful today because NFs are being developed not only by network solution vendors like Samsung, but also by various companies that specialize in their respective fields.

[Wonsik Kim, Leader of Core System Integration]

Why do we need a 5G Open Lab?

In order to verify the functionality and performance of NFs in mobile network simulations, Samsung created the 5G Open Lab. At the lab, Samsung and its partners can conduct tests together to confirm the interoperability between their NFs. This includes testing under different conditions to verify that its 5G features can successfully deliver expected capabilities to the network operators.

Samsung’s partners can test interoperability between their own NFs and Samsung’s latest 5G Core.
They have the opportunity to conduct compatibility tests on major container platforms or public cloud infrastructures.

Through collaboration at the 5G Open Lab, Samsung and its partners can identify the best combination of NFs for the wireless operators’ SBA, ensuring high quality mobile experience for users.

Global operators can use the lab to observe various 5G network simulations and demonstrations using fully integrated solutions by Samsung and its partners, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Openet.

Samsung is currently operating two 5G Open Labs—in Korea and the United States. 

The 5G Open Lab in Korea

The 5G Open Lab at Samsung Digital City in Korea opened in February of 2019. This lab, stationed at the center of Samsung’s research and development, hosts various interoperability tests between Samsung’s 5G Core and partner NFs. The lab features a full testing environment with various infrastructures including Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. The introduction of CI/CD has significantly reduced the time and effort in applying software upgrades by enabling automatic installation and new software version trials at the lab.

Multi-vendor integration tests are regularly conducted to ensure that the newly developed NFs and NF upgrades meet the latest standards.

[Members of 5G Open Lab in Suwon, Korea]

The 5G Open Lab in the United States

The 5G Open Lab in Plano, Texas opened in 4Q of 2019. This lab specializes in testing actual use cases and hosting demonstrations and trials to the North American operators.

“5G technology is vast and complex, especially with 5G network solutions that reflect drastic updates such as cloud-native, stateless, and microservice-based architecture. It is important for our customers to experience the overall solution up close, to see how it is put together and what its real capabilities are. Creating a convenient venue that showcases Samsung’s full end-to-end 5G network solutions to our North America-based customers is a great way to accomplish this.” 

–Alex Chin, Senior Staff Engineer of Technology Solutions Team

Moreover, the 5G Open Lab in the U.S. offers flexibility and availability for the global partners by alleviating the challenges around time zone differences and geographic dispersions.

[Members of 5G Open Lab in the U.S. (This picture was taken before COVID-19)]

Offering Best-of-Breed Solutions to the Operators

The 5G Open Lab is driving the innovation of 3GPP standards-compliant architectures, while ensuring the openness of networks with various NFs, which enables swift deployment of infrastructure-agnostic and cloud-native networks. Through this innovative approach, Samsung and its partners can verify the performance of various NFs by integrating them to Samsung’s commercially proven, cloud-native 5G Core.

Samsung has been conducting interoperability tests with around 10 vendors at 5G Open Lab. Among the vendors, HPE and Openet have been collaborating with Samsung since the opening of the lab. 

HPE provides integrated subscriber database and authentication functions (AUSF1 , UDM2 , UDR3 ), among others. Openet provides integrated 5G policy (PCF4 ) and charging (CHF5 , CCS6 ) functions, supporting the management, control and monetization of 5G services.

“5G standards were created to allow Telcos to build 5G networks with open, cloud-native platforms that utilize modular software and hardware from different vendors. HPE believes that multi-vendor collaboration and interoperability testing is essential to drive innovation and reduce risk through pre-integration. Our 5G solutions, including HPE 5G Core Network Functions, HPE Shared Data Environment, and HPE 5G Orchestration, have already been integrated with Samsung's 5G deployments, and we are proud to support this collaboration in Samsung's 5G Open Lab.”

- Richard Band, Head of 5G Core, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“With 5G, the network is an intrinsic part of the service and user experience. With many 5G services emerging, best effort simply won’t be good enough. Operators need the ability to shape and control 5G networks and slices to provide specific quality of service and open up new revenue streams for them. Our software provides the 5G value plane that bridges the business and IT functions for operators with the 5G network and so enables the management and monetization of new 5G offers. We are very proud to work with Samsung in their 5G Open Labs to help accelerate and demonstrate innovative 5G use cases.”

- Niall Byrne, VP Network Strategy, Openet 

Samsung’s 5G Open Lab plays a key role in identifying the best combination of network functions and solutions that can work with Samsung’s 5G Core. In the end, our collaborative efforts in these two labs across the globe will power next-generation services for operators, by offering service-based architectures that can mix and match the best components from top-tier vendors.

1Authentication Server Function

2Unified Data Management

3Unified Data Repository

4Policy Control Function

5Charging Function

6Converged Charging System