Vodafone and Ericsson create on-demand 5G network slicing

5G, Telecoms

Vodafone and Ericsson have completed the first stand-alone trial of a service that will allow operators to provide 5G network slices for on-demand, dedicated and secure end-to-end connectivity. 

The automated process, which took 30 minutes from order placement, through to creation, optimisation and provision of the network slice, will enable specialist 5G use cases such as enhanced autonomous driving, remote healthcare and virtual/augmented reality.

With network slicing, each slice is isolated from other network traffic to give dedicated and guaranteed performance, with the features of the slice tailored to the use case requirements.

In a joint lab demonstration, the two technology teams worked together to create an on-demand 5G network slice that was configured, using a RAN slicing function, to provide the low latency and high bandwidth required for a virtual reality use case in a retail store. The slice created guaranteed a download speed of 260Mbps and latency of 12.4 milliseconds. It is believed the lab trial is the first of its kind for the mobile industry in the UK.

Importantly, a network slice can be customised to several different variables, including geographical location of slice (single office location to nationwide), download and upload speeds (minimum thresholds), latency (maximum threshold), capacity (device connection density in specific areas), and security (enhanced cybersecurity features).

New capabilities and services for customers may include secure communications for remote workers, high performing cloud-based and mobile gaming, enhanced safety in autonomous vehicles, and remote assistance for specialist procedures in hospitals and ambulances.

According to Ericsson’s network slicing reports, is it estimated that 25-30% of the potential 5G use cases will need slicing as an enabler.

Says Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK:

 “Network slicing is an incredibly valuable step forward. By segmenting our network, and customising different slices for different requirements, we can bring to life new ideas that would be impossible otherwise. When we configure our network to empower new services, industries like gaming, entertainment and healthcare can enter a new era. What might seem like science fiction is one step closer thanks to network slicing.”

Adds Andrea Spaccapietra, VP Digital Services, Ericsson UK & Ireland:

“Network slicing will play a crucial role in enabling new and innovative 5G services for consumers and enterprises. With the tools to efficiently manage network resources and provide differentiated services with dedicated performance, leading network operators like Vodafone can enable new business model innovation and use cases across different sectors and unlock new revenue opportunities to realize the full potential of 5G.”


Chris Price
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