Current architectures and solutions are about to reach the limits of sustainable developments. Over the years, many new requirements have emerged, and there are observations pointing to an ever-increasing diversity in applications, services, devices, types of networks at the edge and the access. Meanwhile, the infrastructures for internetworking, connectivity, and also management remain fairly the same. A new paradigm is needed that can support a continuous high pace of innovations in all the different parts and aspects of a communication system, while at the same time keeping costs of deployment and maintenance down. This new paradigm has to embrace current trends towards increased heterogeneity, but on the other hands provide support for co-existence and interoperability between alternative and various solutions all residing within a global communication system. This paper presents a new architectural framework called the Nth Stratum concept, and which takes a holistic approach to tackle these new needs and requirements on a future communication system.