Company News

IPLOOK officially launched N3IWF element with 5GC!

April 19, 2021 by IPLOOK
Recently, a new network N3IWF independently developed by IPLOOK has been released. N3IWF supports the establishment of IPSec tunnel with UE and provides NWU interface using IKEv2 / IPSec protocol, and forwards UE authentication information to the core network through N2 interface.

The success of N3IWF represents that IPLOOK 5G Core Network(5GC) not only supports 3GPP access network (such as gNB and eNB), but also supports Non-3GPP access network (such as WiFi).

Non-3GPP network is connected to 5G network through N3IWF (Non-3GPP InterWorking Function), while N3IWF is connected to 5G network through N2 and N3 interfaces.

What is N3IWF?
N3IWF (Non-3GPP InterWorking Function) is responsible for connecting untrusted non-3GPP access network to 5GC. UE and N3IWF establish an IPSec tunnel, N3IWF connects to the User Plane and Control Plane of 5GC through N2 interface and N3 interface separately.

Any network that is not 3GPP network (LTE, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, GSM) is considered a NON-3GPP network, e.g., WLAN, HRPD (EVDO, EHRPD), WiMAX, WiFi.

IPLOOK enables the function of the dotted box on the left in the figure above, and provides the RestFul API Northbound interface.
In the case of untrusted non-3GPP access, the functions of IPLOOK’s N3IWF includes:
♦  Provide N2 / N3 interface to terminate the control plane and data plane of 5GC.

♦  Forward the uplink and downlink N1 messages (NAS signalling) between UE and AMF.
♦  Process N2 session / QoS PDU control plane messages sent from SMF.
♦  Establish IPSec Security Association (IPSec SA) to forward PDU session user data.
♦  Forward the uplink and downlink data between UE and UPF.
♦  Encoding / decoding of IPSec and N3 data.
♦  Support the QoS control of N3 interface.
♦  Support N3 uplink packet marking.
♦  Support local anchors.
♦  Support AMF selection.
♦  Provide RESTful API Northbound interface.  

5GC Integrated with Satellite Technology
In order to achieve efficient and reliable integration with the ground 5G, the control function and forwarding function of the satellite core network are separated, and the forwarding function is further simplified. The business storage and computing capacity is moved down from the center to the edge to support the high traffic transmission requirements and flexible and balanced traffic load scheduling.

With the help of virtualization, SDN / NFV, high-performance storage, information processing and other technologies, the business control, resource allocation, user management and security management and control of the space sky converged network are realized, so as to support a variety of services with large capacity, high speed and high reliability, and efficiently meet the diverse needs of various services.

The core network of satellite communication system adopts the same architecture as the ground 5GC. The whole core network is divided into control plane and user plane. The network functions located in the control plane provide service functions through service-based interfaces, and other network functions can reuse the service functions of a certain network function. Network functions can provide different service functions for different users, and the services provided by network functions are independent and reusable.

In addition to the basic services provided by 3GPP, in order to support the integration with the ground, it is necessary to add N3IWF network functions on the user plane of 5G Satellite Core Network:
Support the establishment of IPSec Security Association (IPsec SA) with UE, forward the NAS signal of uplink and downlink control plane between UE and AMF, forward packets of uplink anddownlink user plane between UE and UPF, perform N3 packet marking corresponding to QoS, and perform local mobile anchor function in non 3GPP access network.
The interface between the satellite access network and the core network realizes the establishment, maintenance, modification and deletion of all kinds of services. It is the interface to realize the service connection between the user and the network system. The core network interface design is also different for the pipeline service and the mobile communication service.
Pipeline Service. In this network architecture, the satellite is directly connected with the user through Y1 interface, and the satellite only has the function of relay and forwarding. The satellite is connected to the N3IWF of the user plane in the core network through Y2 interface. Then, it connects with other functional modules in the core network through N3IWF to realize the services provided by 5G satellite communication.
Mobile communication service. In this architecture, the satellite is connected to the user through the ground relay station, and the ground relay station is connected to the user through Y1 interface; on the side of the core network, it is connected to N3IWF through Y2 interface, and then connected to other functional modules in the core network.
The release of IPLOOK N3IWF with its 5GC can support satellite access, and the maturity of 5GC in Sat5G integration technology, which makes the integration of space and ground closer!

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