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Network Slicing

(5G Network Slicing and Applications - eInfochips)


Network Slicing - Paving the Way Towards 5G



- A New Concept in Network Slicing Technology

Slicing is not a new concept. Virtual network capabilities have been part of packet networking for decades. However, 5G deployments will extend this virtualization to an end-end/top-to-bottom functional scope and embed slicing as a core functioning part of the network. The benefits include internal service provider network management uses; the ability to differentiate broad classes of services that require certain characteristics or resource parameters; providing a virtual service provider network across another physical network operator; providing customers the ability to customize a virtual network to support their operations; traffic splitting across 5G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks; etc. Operators will utilize slicing to optimize network management from core to customer. 

Network slicing technology can provide connectivity for smart meters with a network slice that connects “Internet of Things (IoT)” devices with a high availability and high reliability data-only service, with a given latency, data rate and security level. At the same time, the technology can provide another network slice with very high throughput, high data speeds and low latency for an augmented reality (AR) service. Each use case receives a unique set of optimized resources and network topology - covering certain SLA-specified factors such as connectivity, speed, and capacity - that suit the needs of that application. 


- To Enable Different Deployments and Architectural Flavors for Various Business Models

5G networks will have to support diverse and stringent requirements of latency, throughput, capacity, and availability. With its unified design, 5G, an integrated connectivity fabric, offers an exciting promise of being able to Slice the Network to serve a wide range of applications with very distinct reliability and throughput requirements. 

A network slice is defined as a logical (virtual) network customized to serve a defined business purpose or customer, consisting of an end-to-end composition of all the varied network resources required to satisfy the specific performance and economic needs of that particular service class or customer application. With this Network Slicing concept, operators can enable different deployments and architectural flavors for various business models, use cases or service groups. They can run all network instances in parallel on a shared network infrastructure.

Some business models, for example, network slicing enables the network elements and functions to be easily configured and reused in each network slice to meet a specific requirement. One slice simply looks like self-contained network that includes the core network and the RAN. However, each of these slices can have its own network architecture, security, quality of service and network provisioning as a result of the network virtualisation software implementations. 5G effectively allows a network slice to be a low-security, low-bandwidth network for one application and a high-security, high-reliability one for another application. 



[More to come ...]

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