5G N4 Interface Simulation and Analysis

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GL’s Message Automation & Protocol Simulation (MAPS™) 5G-N4 Interface Emulator is an advanced protocol simulator/tester for 5G simulation over N4 interface that can simulate PFCP messages and signaling specification as defined by 3GPP standards. As seen in the network diagram, N4 is the reference point in the control and user plane separation (CUPS) architecture.

The PFCP is found on the N4 reference point between SMF (Session Management Function) and UPF (User Plane Function). SMF carries the policy rules attained from the PCF regarding packet handling, forwarding, and usage reporting to the UPF, also implements Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) in 5G core networks, providing control plane tunnel management and user plane Protocol Data Unit (PDU) sessions.

MAPS™ 5G-N4 can simulate and test Session Management Function (SMF) and User Plane Function (UPF) elements. SMF in the 5G N4 interface is primarily concerned with managing the UE’s PDU sessions. Its responsibilities include the establishment, modification, and release of the PDU sessions. UPF in the CUPS architecture is responsible for handling user data and reporting the traffic usage data to the SMF.

5G N4 Testing Features

  • Simulates 5G Core network functions - SMF (Session Management Function) and UPF (User Plane Function)
  • Supports 5G Control plane and User plane
  • Supported Traffic types include Mobile Traffic, and Packet Traffic
  • Generates and process PFCP (valid and invalid) messages
  • Supports customization of call flow and message templates using Script and Message Editor
  • Ready-to-use scripts for quick testing
  • Supports scripted call generation and automated call reception
  • Supports GTP Traffic (GTP User Plane Data), HTTP traffic generation capability
  • Provides Call Statistics and Events Status
  • Automation, Remote access, and Schedulers to run tests 24/7

5G N4 Interface Procedure

Node Related Procedures:

  • PFCP Heartbeat
  • PFCP Association Setup
  • PFCP Association Update
  • PFCP Association Release
  • PFCP Version Not Supported
  • PFCP Node Report 

PFCP Session related messages:

  • PFCP Session Establishment
  • PFCP Session Modification
  • PFCP Session Deletion
  • PFCP Session Report