How PCF Enables Efficient Policy Control and Management in the 5G Core Network

Blog Detail Banner

How PCF Enables Efficient Policy Control and Management in the 5G Core Network

The 5G Core Network constitutes several well-defined Network Functions (NFs), each of which helps in designing exclusive network features and capabilities. Amongst these NFs is the 5G Policy Control Function.

5G PCF is among the fundamental Network Functions (NFs) in 5G’s Service-based Architecture (SBA) and is one of the control plane network functions of the 5G core network (5GC). An evolution of 4G’s Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), PCF performs the same functions as PCRF, with additional capabilities and greater agility and flexibility. It extends PCRF’s capabilities to request and monitor service quality per session and enhances network capabilities and performance in a dynamic, cloud-native environment.

What is the role of PCF in a 5G Network?

The PCF architecture is built on a multilayer platform enabling efficient policy control and management in the 5G core network. 

PCF supports the unified policy framework that governs network behavior by providing policy rules for control plane functions, including control of network slicing and new control mechanisms for UE activities, such as roaming and mobility management. It also provides subscription information for policy decisions and supports the new 5G QoS (Quality of Service) policy and charging control functions.

The Primary Functions of 5G PCF in a 5G Core Network

The 5G Policy Control Function handles the resources for the 5G sessions to perform the following functions in a 5G core network:

  • Manage and streamline policy rules for all 5G control plane functions like network slicing, mobility management, and roaming.
  • Provide end-to-end support for 5G QoS policy, charging control functions, and related 5G signaling interfaces. With the 3GPP standards of N7, N15, N28, N36, and Rx being the defining interfaces for the network function 
  • Define policies for different network slices to support diverse 5G use cases such as Massive IoT, Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communication (URLLC), etc., without compromising QoS
  • Provide advanced real-time business intelligence and insights to ensure resource optimization and informed decision-making by collecting, assimilating, and analyzing subscriber data from various metrics
  • Help MNOs and service providers leverage data to create differentiated services for diverse end users
  • Real-time management of subscribers, applications, and network resources
  • Accelerate and simplify deployment and upgrades using ConfD CLI
  • Increase speed and efficiency, and reduce downtime by adopting cloud-native implementation
  • Act as a unified communication platform to collaborate with other NFs through NRF (Network Repository Function)
  • Support rapid policy use case deployment
  • Provide Policy Authorization (PA) services
  • Implement end-to-end policy management, from devices to applications
  • Enable service exposure to external applications
  • Provide Session Management (SM) and Access & Mobility Management (AM) policy control services
  • Enable high availability and multi-site geo-redundancy

To sum up, today’s fast-evolving digital landscape requires rapid deployment of new use cases and services. To enable these, advanced policy management and charging control will play a vital role in the evolving 5G ecosystem. They provide real-time visibility into and control over differentiated network services, making 5G PCF one of the most critical 5G Network Functions of 5GC.

At Amantya, we offer advanced policy control support to streamline operations and improve efficiency. We also ensure that your evolving subscriber demands are effectively met with optimized network resources in real time. 

Want to be 5G Ready? Get in touch with us today!