Network Slicing – What is it?

What is Network Slicing?

As the name implies; Network Slicing is a process by which Wireless Carriers can ‘slice-up’ a single (physical) 5G network into multiple virtual (End-2-End) networks that are individually optimized to service the requirements of various Connected IoT devices

Network Slicing

Key Benefit of Network Slicing?

5G is set to serve broad range of IoT use cases with varying degree of network requirements… from autonomous vehicles requiring continuous access to high bandwidth / critical latency network resources through to millions of industrial M2M sensors requiring nothing more than intermittent network access

Allocating the same ‘physical 5G network resource’ across a range of IoT devices / services with different network needs will almost always be a waste of precious network resources for the Wireless Carrier

Network Slicing can help isolate certain types of IoT solutions (think: smart home security) from the wider (insecure) public access network

These virtual ‘network slices’ will operate in parallel to each other but will be independent of each other with a common backhaul, core & even cloud platform made efficient with the help of SDN & NFV technologies (in simplest terms – explore detailed technical workings of Network Slicing in separate post)

From a revenue standpoint, some IoT solutions will be high usage & cost more to operate whilst others would be light usage & cost less… each network slice would specifically cater to these individual solution requirements and would have it’s unique billing mechanism & revenue models

Who are involved so far?

  • So far, prominent Wireless Carriers such as SK TelecomDeutsche TelekomKT, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, etc. are actively working with Network Equipment OEMs giants Huawei, Nokia & Ericsson on running Network Slicing trials & research with varying degree of success

Network Slicing will be central to the deployment of broad-spectrum IoT services and as such many value chain players from Network Equipment OEMs through to Wireless Carriers have already recognized Network Slicing as an ideal architecture in the forthcoming 5G era

Expect increased commitment to research & use case trials from a a host of wireless players in the near future