RRC_INACTIVE is a state where a UE remains in CM-CONNECTED and can move within an area configured by NG-RAN (the RNA) without notifying NG-RAN. In RRC_INACTIVE, the last serving gNB node keeps the UE context and the UE-associated NG connection with the serving AMF and UPF.
If the last serving gNB receives DL data from the UPF or DL UE-associated signalling from the AMF (except the UE Context Release Command message) while the UE is in RRC_INACTIVE, it pages in the cells corresponding to the RNA and may send XnAP RAN Paging to neighbour gNB(s) if the RNA includes cells of neighbour gNB(s).
Upon receiving the UE Context Release Command message while the UE is in RRC_INACTIVE, the last serving gNB may page in the cells corresponding to the RNA and may send XnAP RAN Paging to neighbour gNB(s) if the RNA includes cells of neighbour gNB(s), in order to release UE explicitly.
Upon receiving the NG RESET message while the UE is in RRC_INACTIVE, the last serving gNB may page involved UEs in the cells corresponding to the RNA and may send XnAP RAN Paging to neighbour gNB(s) if the RNA includes cells of neighbour gNB(s) in order to explicitly release involved UEs.
Upon RAN paging failure, the gNB behaves according to TS 23.501
The AMF provides to the NG-RAN node the Core Network Assistance Information to assist the NG-RAN node's decision whether the UE can be sent to RRC_INACTIVE. The Core Network Assistance Information includes the registration area configured for the UE, the Periodic Registration Update timer, and the UE Identity Index value, and may include the UE specific DRX, an indication if the UE is configured with Mobile Initiated Connection Only (MICO) mode by the AMF, and the Expected UE Behaviour. The UE registration area is taken into account by the NG-RAN node when configuring the RNA. The UE specific DRX and UE Identity Index value are used by the NG-RAN node for RAN paging. The Periodic Registration Update timer is taken into account by the NG-RAN node to configure Periodic RNA Update timer. The NG-RAN node takes into account the Expected UE Behaviour to assist the UE RRC state transition decision.
At transition to RRC_INACTIVE the NG-RAN node may configure the UE with a periodic RNA Update timer value. At periodic RNA Update timer expiry without notification from the UE, the gNB behaves as specified in TS 23.501
If the UE accesses a gNB other than the last serving gNB, the receiving gNB triggers the XnAP Retrieve UE Context procedure to get the UE context from the last serving gNB and may also trigger an Xn-U Address Indication procedure including tunnel information for potential recovery of data from the last serving gNB. Upon successful UE context retrieval, the receiving gNB shall perform the slice-aware admission control in case of receiving slice information and becomes the serving gNB and it further triggers the NGAP Path Switch Request and applicable RRC procedures. After the path switch procedure, the serving gNB triggers release of the UE context at the last serving gNB by means of the XnAP UE Context Release procedure.
In case the UE is not reachable at the last serving gNB, the gNB shall fail any AMF initiated UE-associated class 1 procedure which allows the signalling of unsuccessful operation in the respective response message. It may trigger the NAS Non Delivery Indication procedure to report the non-delivery of any NAS PDU received from the AMF.
If the UE accesses a gNB other than the last serving gNB and the receiving gNB does not find a valid UE Context, the receiving gNB can perform establishment of a new RRC connection instead of resumption of the previous RRC connection. UE context retrieval will also fail and hence a new RRC connection needs to be established if the serving AMF changes.
A UE in the RRC_INACTIVE state is required to initiate RNA update procedure when it moves out of the configured RNA. When receiving RNA update request from the UE, the receiving gNB triggers the XnAP Retrieve UE Context procedure to get the UE context from the last serving gNB and may decide to send the UE back to RRC_INACTIVE state, move the UE into RRC_CONNECTED state, or send the UE to RRC_IDLE. In case of periodic RNA update, if the last serving gNB decides not to relocate the UE context, it fails the Retrieve UE Context procedure and sends the UE back to RRC_INACTIVE, or to RRC_IDLE directly by an encapsulated RRCRelease message.