By Zoran Lazarevic
The digital era has the potential to transform industry and society, and with the introduction of 5G around the world, countless new business models have become a possibility. New-generation technology and services come with their unique connectivity and performance-related challenges. So, communication service providers (CSP) need efficient and flexible technologies to meet the demands of these new services.
This is where network slicing comes in – providing the capability to enable new business models across a broad industry spectrum. This solution allows operators to segment the network to support particular services and deploy multiple logical networks for different service types over one common infrastructure.
With the combination of 5G and network slicing, CSPs can offer new services, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and real-time automation, with guaranteed performance to the enterprise and mobile broadband (MBB) market segment. In doing so, access to potential new sources of revenue, and improved ways to support their customers, will open up.
5G RAN slicing for next-level services
In the era of industry digitalization, efficient solutions are needed to address simultaneously services that need high bandwidth and services with low latency or ultra-reliability. These new services will have different/unique performance requirements characterized through the service level agreements (SLA). The CSPs need the capability to guaranty fulfillment of SLAs while creating end-to-end that spans over the radio access network (RAN), core network and transport network. The ability to monitor and control performances in the RAN is the vital part and this is where the 5G RAN slicing solution comes to play.
The 5G RAN slicing solution allows for the slice-aware observability, dynamic radio resource partitioning on a 1ms level, quality of service, and slice orchestration functionality. This way, service providers can deliver SLA based 5G slices to drive innovation in smart manufacturing, healthcare, online gaming and other emerging enterprise and MBB use cases.
RAN slicing builds on existing 5G network investments and secures the efficient allocation of limited radio resources to facilitate the creation of next-level services while guaranteeing the fulfillment of SLAs. RAN slicing will considerably shorten time-to-market and improve the total cost of ownership for the CSPs when offering the new services.
In offering the new services, CSPs are initially focusing on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), cloud gaming, and other MBB-based use cases in the consumer market segment. As end-to-end network slicing matures, use cases will continue to grow both in number and complexity. Examples in the enterprise verticals already include smart surveillance, real-time automation and remote operation. Strong interest has been observed in tailor-made slices for the financial services sector in certain Asian countries.
With the increased number of slices, created for various use cases, complexity will also increase. This increased complexity will demand end-to-end slice orchestration and automation to carry out slice lifecycle management.
RAN slice orchestration is part of end-to-end slice orchestration, enabling automation of slice lifecycle management tasks such as slice provisioning, activation, supervision and service assurance.
Ericsson RAN slicing solution enables service providers to offer differentiated handling of new services with respective quality of service and radio resource management for SLA fulfillment. What’s more, our solution is scalable and flexible enough to support a growing number of slicing use cases with faster time to market.
Ericsson network slicing solution provides the opportunity to monetize CSPs 5G investment and open the door for the new revenue streams from enterprise and MBB segment. The objective is to achieve full dynamic orchestration of end-to-end slicing with optimal automation.
For more information on this topic, read our latest paper in which we discuss the importance of RAN slicing in delivering on the promise of 5G.
(Zoran Lazarevic is the CTO at Ericsson Middle East and Africa).