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1. WO2021110287 - DISCOVERY OF A SERVICE-PROVIDING NETWORK FUNCTION

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CLAIMS

1. A method for enabling discovery of a service-providing Network Function, NF, (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the method being performed by a Network Repository Function (200), the method comprising:

registering (S102) locality information of service-providing NFs (400) according to locality attribute of each service-providing NF (400), wherein each locality attribute comprises structured values of location information of its service-providing NF (400);

obtaining (S104) a request from a service-requesting NF (300) for one of the service-providing NFs (400), the request specifying a preferred locality of the requested service-providing NF (400), the preferred locality indicating, in terms of structured values of location information, geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed;

identifying (S106), out of the service-providing NFs (400), that service-providing NF (400) which has a locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality, whereby the service-providing NF (400) closest to the geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed is identified; and

providing (S108) a response to the service-requesting NF (300), wherein the response comprises the locality attribute of the identified service-providing NF (400), thereby enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400).

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the preferred locality does not exactly match any of the locality attributes.

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the locality information of the service-providing NFs (400) is registered upon at least one of service registration of the service-providing NFs (400) and service update of the service-providing NFs (400).

4. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the structured values of location information are structured from most detailed location information to least detailed location information.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality is identified by having as detailed location information as possible in common with the structured values of location information of the service-requesting NF (300).

6. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the structured values of location information are specified in terms of two or more of: sub data center, data center, district, city, province, area, state, region, country, continent.

7. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the structured values of location information are encoded using a Domain Name System, DNS, syntax composed of labels separated by dots.

8. The method according to any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the structured values of location information are encoded using a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, LDAP, Data Interchange Format, LDIF, structure.

9. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the response comprises an array of at least one NF profile object, wherein each NF profile object comprises at least a locality attribute of one identified service-providing NF (400).

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein one priority value for each NF profile object is indicated in the array of NF profile objects.

11. The method according to claim 10, wherein the priority value per NF profile object is proportional to a cost, such as geographical distance, between the service providing NF (400) of that NF profile object and the service-requesting NF (300).

12. The method according to claim 11, wherein the service-providing NF (400) is identified based on using a weighted graph reflecting the cost between the service providing NFs (400) and the service-requesting NF (300).

13. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein a priority value is assigned to each of the service-providing NFs (400) based on live data received from the 3GPP communication network (100), the live data pertaining to at least one of network latency and network throughput between the service-requesting NF (300) and the service-providing NFs (400).

14. A method for discovery of a service-providing Network Function, NF, (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the method being performed by a service-requesting NF (300), the method comprising:

providing (S202) a request to a Network Repository Function (200) for a service-providing NF (400), the request specifying a preferred locality of the requested service-providing NF (400), the preferred locality indicating, in terms of structured values of location information, geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed; and

obtaining (S204) a response from the Network Repository Function (200), wherein the response comprises the locality attribute of a service-providing NF (400) as identified, the service-providing NF (400) having a locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality, whereby the service-providing NF (400) closest to the geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed is identified, the service-requesting NF (300) thereby discovering the service-providing NF (400).

15. A method for enabling discovery of a service-providing Network Function, NF,

(400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the method being performed by the service-providing NF (400), the method comprising:

registering (S302), with a Network Repository Function (200), locality information of the service-providing NF (400) according to locality attribute of the service-providing NF (400), wherein the locality attribute comprises structured values of location information of the service-providing NF (400), thereby enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400).

16. A Network Repository Function (200) for enabling discovery of a service providing Network Function, NF, (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the Network Repository Function (200) comprising processing circuitry (210), the processing circuitry being configured to cause the Network Repository Function (200) to:

register locality information of service-providing NFs (400) according to locality attribute of each service-providing NF (400), wherein each locality attribute

comprises structured values of location information of its service-providing NF (400);

obtain a request from a service-requesting NF (300) for one of the service providing NFs (400), the request specifying a preferred locality of the requested service-providing NF (400), the preferred locality indicating, in terms of structured values of location information, geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed;

identify, out of the service-providing NFs (400), that service-providing NF (400) which has a locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality, whereby the service-providing NF (400) closest to the geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed is identified; and

provide a response to the service-requesting NF (300), wherein the response comprises the locality attribute of the identified service-providing NF (400), thereby enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400).

17. A service-requesting Network Function, NF, (300) for discovery of a service providing NF (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the service-requesting NF (300) comprising processing circuitry (310), the processing circuitry being configured to cause the service-requesting NF (300) to:

provide a request to a Network Repository Function (200) for a service providing NF (400), the request specifying a preferred locality of the requested service-providing NF (400), the preferred locality indicating, in terms of structured values of location information, geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed;

obtain a response from the Network Repository Function (200), wherein the response comprises the locality attribute of a service-providing NF (400) as identified, the service-providing NF (400) having a locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality, whereby the service-providing NF (400) closest to the geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed is identified, the service-requesting NF (300) thereby discovering the service-providing NF (400).

18. A service-providing Network Function, NF, (400) for enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the service providing NF (400) comprising processing circuitry (410), the processing circuitry being configured to cause the service-providing NF (400) to:

register, with a Network Repository Function (200), locality information of the service-providing NF (400) according to locality attribute of the service-providing NF (400), wherein the locality attribute comprises structured values of location information of the service-providing NF (400), thereby enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400).

19. A system comprising a Network Repository Function (200) according to claim

16, a service-requesting Network Function, NF, (300) according to claim 17, and a service-providing NF (400) according to claim 18.

20. A computer program (1420a) for enabling discovery of a service-providing Network Function, NF, (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the computer program comprising computer code which, when run on processing circuitry (210) of a Network Repository Function (200), causes the Network Repository Function (200) to:

register (S102) locality information of service-providing NFs (400) according to locality attribute of each service-providing NF (400), wherein each locality attribute comprises structured values of location information of its service-providing NF (400);

obtain (S104) a request from a service-requesting NF (300) for one of the service-providing NFs (400), the request specifying a preferred locality of the requested service-providing NF (400), the preferred locality indicating, in terms of structured values of location information, geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed;

identify (S106), out of the service-providing NFs (400), that service-providing NF (400) which has a locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality, whereby the service-providing NF (400) closest to the geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed is identified; and

provide (S108) a response to the service-requesting NF (300), wherein the response comprises the locality attribute of the identified service-providing NF (400), thereby enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400).

21. A computer program (1420b) for discovery of a service-providing Network Function, NF, (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the computer program comprising computer code which, when run on processing circuitry (310) of a service-requesting Network Function, NF, (300), causes the service-requesting NF (300) to:

provide (S202) a request to a Network Repository Function (200) for a service providing NF (400), the request specifying a preferred locality of the requested service-providing NF (400), the preferred locality indicating, in terms of structured values of location information, geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed; and

obtain (S204) a response from the Network Repository Function (200), wherein the response comprises the locality attribute of a service-providing NF (400) as identified, the service-providing NF (400) having a locality attribute that best matches the preferred locality, whereby the service-providing NF (400) closest to the geographical location where the service-requesting NF (300) is deployed is identified, the service-requesting NF (300) thereby discovering the service-providing NF (400).

22. A computer program (1420c) for enabling discovery of a service-providing Network Function, NF, (400) in a 3GPP communication network (100), the computer program comprising computer code which, when run on processing circuitry (410) of the service-providing NF (400), causes the service-providing NF (400) to:

register (S302), with a Network Repository Function (200), locality information of the service-providing NF (400) according to locality attribute of the service-providing NF (400), wherein the locality attribute comprises structured values of location information of the service-providing NF (400), thereby enabling discovery of the service-providing NF (400).

23. A computer program product (1410a, 1410b, 1410c) comprising a computer program (1420a, 1420b, 1420c) according to at least one of claims 20, 21 and 22, and a computer readable storage medium (1430) on which the computer program is stored.