In 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) fifth-generation (5G) network deployments, Network Function (NF) instance and service discovery is done using a centralized method comprising one or more NF Repository Functions (NRFs) which maintain information about all of the registered NF instances and their services. If a NRF fails, then all of the NF instances, and all of the services that are registered with that NRF, will be lost. Such a loss may result in call failures until the failure is detected and recovered using methods such as, for example, a heartbeat (i.e., a keep-alive) mechanism, etc. To address the type of challenge that was described above, techniques are presented herein that employ a private and permissive blockchain-based distributed ledger (which for simplicity of exposition may be referred to herein as a Ledger) to discover NF instances and their services in 5G network deployments. Aspects of the presented techniques decentralize the NF instance and service discovery process without compromising authentication or security. According to aspects of the presented techniques, when a NF instance comes up it may authenticate itself with a blockchain provider to confirm that it is a legitimate NF instance, after which the NF instance and its services may be added to the Ledger. Further, a Ledger is made available to all of the NF instances so that a NF instance may learn about the other NF instances and their services.
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M, Niranjan M. and Kenchaiah, Nagaraj, "5G DEPLOYMENT WITH DISTRIBUTED APPROACH FOR NF INSTANCE AND SERVICE DISCOVERY", Technical Disclosure Commons, (March 24, 2022)