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What's Up with 5G Network Slicing?

5 Gbrain

By: Mary Jander

5G network slicing could be moving closer to reality, with a range of trials aimed at putting control in the hands of enterprise customers. In the process, issues and opportunities related to the technology are surfacing.

Network slicing refers to the ability to divide a physical 5G infrastructure into multiple virtualized slices, each governed by its own bandwidth and latency controls. The result is a more efficient way to offer services for a variety of use cases that require differing service level requirements. A video streaming service, for example, calls for quality of service parameters distinct from those of a sensor on a warehouse shelf.

But network slicing hasn’t yet taken off in commercial deployments. One reason is that it requires 5G standalone (SA) network infrastructure, something that is still in the process of rollout worldwide. To date, for instance, just 32% of 148 service providers Futuriom tracks worldwide offer 5G SA networks. And of those with SA networks, just seven providers claim to offer network slicing (more on that momentarily).

Another barrier to commercialization of network slicing has been the inability to create an “on demand” interface for customers to use in ordering up slice-based services. While telcos with 5G SA networks have been able to implement network slicing from the carrier side, the technology hasn’t been accessible to customers yet. And making it so could be a major push forward.

Steps Toward On-Demand Network Slicing

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