Updated: Jun 16
"Network slicing is an enabler to unlock the full value proposition of 5G as a platform for innovation to drive improved value for enterprise verticals, partners, small and medium businesses, and consumer services as well as efficiencies for CSPs."
5G technology brings with it an unprecedented capability known as network slicing, which was not present in earlier generations. Ericsson has predicted that by 2030, network segregating alone could generate as much as $200 billion in revenue for CSPs. This projection highlights the significant potential for telcos to capitalise on the benefits of 5g network slicing, such as the ability to provide customised services to a wide range of customers with diverse needs. In the following article, we will explain what is 5g network slicing, how it can be beneficial for organisations, the basics of its work, and provide some use cases.
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What is Network Slicing in 5G?
The concept of 5G network slicing involves the creation of multiple virtual networks, or "slices," on a single physical 5G network infrastructure by mobile network operators. Each of these networks is distinct from the others and can be customised with various performance characteristics tailored to the specific needs of original use cases, applications, and customers. Here's a brief explanation of the purpose of network slicing in 5G. A network slice can facilitate high-speed data transfer, while another slice can be optimised to achieve low latency or ultra-reliable communication.
To effectively handle network division and boost profits, it's crucial to have contemporary Operation Support System and Business Support systems that automate business and operational processes. With 5G networks that are programmable and adaptable, as well as advanced AI and SLA-driven orchestration, network functions can be created flexibly, deployed quickly, and managed automatically.
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Business Benefits of 5G Network Slicing
"Network slicing allows multiple logical networks to be run as virtually independent business operations on a single common physical infrastructure, efficiently and cost-effectively."
Efficient resource utilisation
Network slicing in 5G allows operators to allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring each network slice receives the resources based on its specific requirements. By doing so, operators can avoid resource wastage and optimise the utilisation of their network resources.
Improved service quality
Operators can provide a more advanced and smooth service experience by creating dedicated network slices for specific services. For example, one part can be dedicated to providing low latency and high reliability for specific services, such as gaming or critical industrial applications. By doing so, operators can improve service quality, resulting in higher satisfaction rates and reduced churn.
Advocate for implementing the IoT and other advanced technologies
Leveraging the full suite of IoT capabilities will become a key advantage of 5G network slicing. With the ability to allocate a segregated and dedicated portion of the network, businesses can achieve complete control and support for crucial IoT solutions. This level of functionality will be vital for specific applications, such as self-governing wireless machinery for manufacturing floors. The absence of ultra-fast speeds and low latency from 5G, along with an economically viable, reserved network, could render it operationally impracticable to sustain these real-time automated factory processes.
Increased revenue opportunities
5G network slicing enables operators to offer innovative services tailored to the needs of specific customer segments. For example, a network slice can be created for IoT devices requiring low bandwidth and latency, enabling operators to offer new IoT services. By applying such practices, operators can create additional revenue streams and enhance competitiveness in the market.
Introducing network segregation has opened up a new realm of possibilities for CSPs. By providing a way to allocate resources, network slicing enables the provision of services that were previously impossible to offer. In addition, the use of pervasive observability within the slice and across the network can significantly enhance the customer experience and drive the adoption of new technologies. Network slicing provides a crucial infrastructure that enables new and innovative services while ensuring the seamless and reliable delivery of those services to end users.
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The Principle of Work. 5G Network Slicing Explained
The network slicing architecture typically comprises three layers: the infrastructure, the virtualization, and the service layers. An infrastructure layer includes the physical network resources, such as radio access networks (RANs), core networks, and transport networks. The virtualization layer creates multiple virtual networks on top of the physical infrastructure, and the service layer provides services to customers on each virtual network.
To create a network slice, the operator first identifies the specific requirements of the customer or application, such as the required spare capacity, latency, and security. Based on these requirements, the individual defines the parameters of the virtual network slice, such as the network topology, protocols, and traffic routing policies.
Once the virtual network slice is defined, the operator can allocate the required network resources from the physical infrastructure and configure the virtual network accordingly. The virtual network can be managed separately from the physical infrastructure, allowing for better performance, scalability, and flexibility.
5G Network Slicing Examples in Real Life
5G network slicing can create virtual networks for specific smart city applications, such as traffic management, public safety, and environmental monitoring. Each virtual network can be optimised for the application's particular requirements, such as low latency and high capacity for real-time traffic monitoring. A bright example is the cooperation between Nokia and Nedaa in creating virtual networks optimised for smart city and public safety use cases in Dubai.
Creating virtual networks for healthcare applications, such as remote patient monitoring and telemedicine. Each virtual network can be optimised for the application's specific requirements, such as top security and low latency for real-time video consultations.
Network slicing can create virtual networks for gaming applications, such as multiplayer online games. By leveraging 5G network slicing technology, CSPs can create dedicated network slices optimised for gaming experiences. These network ports can be dynamically allocated based on user location and performance requirements, ensuring that gamers can always access the best possible network connectivity.
5G network slicing is a revolutionary technology that allows mobile operators to create multiple virtual networks on top of a single physical 5G network infrastructure. It enables operators to provide customised services to a wide range of customers with diverse needs, resulting in improved user experiences, increased efficiency, and reduced costs. With its flexibility and scalability, network slicing has the power to transform the telecommunications industry and unlock new opportunities for businesses and customers alike.