A Look at 5G Network Slicing

A Look at 5G Network Slicing

April 21st, 2020 - Telecom, Roaming

By Nina Le-Richardson, Director of Product Management, TNS

Network slicing is one of the use cases operators are making to move to a 5G infrastructure. In this blog we explore how creating multiple virtual core networks atop a shared physical infrastructure can help operators to serve specific devoted logical, self-contained, and partitioned network functions.

With network slicing, each use case receives optimized resources and network topology, covering SLA-specified factors (connectivity, speed, capacity) for that application. The use cases for network slicing applications are potentially endless and the reason why service providers are excited.

A few examples include utilities, virtual reality, connected cars, mobile broadband and massive IoT. The 5G IoT use cases are predicted to evolve over time, with high density and low bandwidth requirements and eventually, support low latency applications as the 5G arch matures.

Network slicing can provide a near-direct path for communications, providing significant latency and reliability advantages, however, it is important to recognize that network slices are different from traditional Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Network slicing must guarantee resources and Quality of Service (QoS) for every single flow in the service, every time. It utilizes cloud native, distributed computing on Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Network (SDN) and physical network elements. Logical slices can be rolled out on demand utilizing orchestration capabilities with SDN and NFV technologies helping enable a faster time to market. In addition, multi-tenant virtual infrastructure is available to support simultaneous, dynamic slices, with varying quality and security parameters. Network slicing also depends on service orchestration and automation.

Turning to the critical role of multi-domain dynamic orchestration in network slicing, we see that it provides fulfillment of service components within specific network domains. It does this by performing required resource assignment logic and configuring the corresponding underlying physical layer, virtual network elements and controllers. Integrated orchestration of both physical and NFV infrastructures are required in order to fulfill 5G key performance indicators.

Slice-aware provisioning of services into specific slices allows operators to transition customers between slices in real time, while closed loop analytics drive service assurance with real time QoS management to deliver QoS based services. Orchestration also supports tracking of service level adherence and healing, scaling, or modifying underlying services with deviation is detected.

The main takeaway I would like to leave you with in this blog is that I believe network slicing is the key to the technology leap between 4G and 5G. It will introduce multiple new requirements to manage the customer experience and the emerging business models, giving us a strong framework for an efficient and feature-rich infrastructure.

Coming Soon – Blog #7 3G Turndown and VoLTE: What Happens Next?

Read our previous posts in this series “The 5G Core”, “What to Expect with 5G Roaming”, “5G Non-Standalone vs 5G Standalone”, “LTE Has Gas in the Tank” and “The 5G Hype


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