In December 2017, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) approved the first 5G radio and core network specifications.  These specifications refer to the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) specification that form the basis of commercial 5G products.  The NSA specification outlines the use of 5G NR with the legacy evolved packet core (EPC) network that was constructed for LTE (4G) radio base stations.  The standalone (SA) version of the 5G specification defines an entirely new core network which are based on cloud-native principals and features a services based architecture (SBA).

Exact Ventures covers NSA core network deployments within its EPC coverage. The new standalone, 5G core (5GC) network elements, and where they fit within Exact Ventures’ coverage areas, are as follows:

5G Core Definitions

5G Packet Core

  • AMF: Access and Mobility Management Function
  • SMF: Session Management Function
  • UPF: User Plane Function
  • N3 IWF: N3 (user-plane interface) Interworking Function
  • NEF: Network Exposure Function
  • NRF: Network Function (NRF) Repository Function
  • NSSF: Network Slice Selection Function


  • PCF: Policy Control Function


  • BSF: Binding Selection Function
  • SCP: Service Communication Proxy
  • SEPP: Security Edge Protection Proxy

Viewed another way, 5G Core network elements are an extension to existing Exact Ventures network coverage, which is critical in measuring market transitions and market share shifts between generations of technologies and networks:

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