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NEC joins industry and academia in Europe to develop a multi-service mobile network architecture for the 5G era

*** For immediate use September 23, 2015

  • The 5G NORMA project, part of the European 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5GPPP) initiative, will define the overall 5G mobile network architecture, including radio and core networks, to meet demanding 5G multiservice requirements
  • The consortium is composed of 13 partners including leading industry vendors, operators, IT companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and academic institutions

NEC, industry vendors, operators, IT companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and academia in Europe have joined forces to develop a novel, adaptive and future-proof mobile network architecture for the 5G era. As part of the European 5GPPP initiative, 5G NORMA (5G Novel Radio Multiservice adaptive network Architecture) will propose an end-to-end architecture that takes into consideration both Radio Access Network (RAN) and Core Network aspects. The consortium will be working over a period of 30 months, beginning in July 2015, to meet the key objectives of creating and disseminating innovative concepts on the mobile network architecture for the 5G era.

5G networks need to meet a wide array of diverse and extreme requirements

The revolution towards 5G encompasses a heterogeneous communication landscape with new service requirements bringing together cloud-enabled technologies alongside traditional mobile services. The performance ambitions for 5G requires higher data volumes, very low service-level latency, ubiquitously communicating things, mass connectivity, ultra-high reliability and reduced energy consumption. The ambition towards 5G systems is to provide a customized, advanced user-centric value at an affordable price, in an effort to strengthen key societal needs in domains such as transportation, health and environment. To address these complex service requirements, a new mobile network architecture is required with built-in flexibility to efficiently handle multiple services and tenants simultaneously.

5G NORMA: A Novel Radio Multi-service adaptive Network Architecture

With 5G NORMA, leading industry and academic institutes in the mobile ecosystem aim to underpin Europe's leadership position in 5G. The NORMA approach breaks away from the rigid legacy network paradigm. It brings an on-demand network adaptation both on the RAN and Core Network tailoring network functions and application resources to the service requirements, considering variations of the traffic demands over time and location, including fronthaul/backhaul capacity.

The consortium envisions the 5G NORMA architecture will enable unprecedented levels of network customization to ensure that stringent performance, security, cost and energy requirements are met. It will also provide an API-driven architectural openness, fueling economic growth through over-the-top innovation and the native support of multi-tenancy.

The technical approach is based on the innovative concept of adaptive (de)composition and allocation of network functions, considering mobile-edge computing and multi-tenancy support.  By doing so, access and core functions may no longer reside in different locations, which are exploited to jointly optimize their operation whenever possible. The adaptability of the architecture is further strengthened by the innovative software-defined mobile network control and mobile multi-tenancy concepts and underpinned by corroborating demonstrations.

5G NORMA deliverables

The consortium will be working over a period of 30 months, beginning in July 2015. Key objectives include the creation and dissemination of innovative concepts on the mobile network architecture for the 5G era. Some of these may be captured in products or patents, while others may emerge from the process and working engagements. Emphasis will also be placed on commercialization, including partnerships and start-up creation.

Consortium members

Vendors and IT:
NEC, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks, ATOS
Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises:
Azcom Technology, Nomor Research, Real Wireless
University Kaiserslautern in Germany, Kings College London, University Carlos III Madrid

NEC outlined its vision for mobile networks in 2020 at MWC 2015: The "Network 2020" will facilitate the easy fusion of ICT platforms across various industries, using high-capacity, low-latency, power-saving, flexible architecture based on SDN/NFV and C-RAN technology. NEC will use this architecture to help satisfy the needs of increasingly diverse services and business models by offering efficient real-world functions, such as digitization, analysis and inference, control and guidance.


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About NEC Laboratories Europe
NEC Europe Ltd. established NEC Laboratories Europe in 1994. The Laboratories are located in Heidelberg, Germany and South Ruislip, UK. NEC Laboratories are conducting research and development on cutting-edge ICT technologies, in particular Future Internet, next generation fixed and mobile networks, the Internet-of-Things, Intelligent Transportation Systems, multimedia, security and service saving energy and protecting our environment. Special emphasis is placed on solutions meeting the needs of NEC's European customers. For additional information, please visit the NEC Laboratories Europe home page at:

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