Why network slicing is a killer app for 5G
Network slicing, the idea of dividing available network capacity into slices that are designed and dimensioned to best serve specific users and applications, is seen as one of the greatest benefits of 5G because it allows the creation of dedicated networks for specific customers or customer groups. Mobile operators see this as one of their largest opportunities for growing their enterprise sales, among others, writes Helmut Schober who leads the 5G Services programme at Nokia.
From a conceptual point of view, slicing is clear and simple to understand. The operator has a pool of resources from which it takes what is required for the slice it wants to create. However, as the resource pool is not unlimited the operator has to ensure the network can deliver the resources and guarantee the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are needed for the network slice to perform as expected.
Operators want to get to the point where a customer can order a network slice on-demand and simply press a few buttons to automatically and across the network layers, set up the virtual network – or slice. This is a realistic long-term goal but operators will need help initially to set up the mechanism of automation and to create suitable templates. The absence of standardisation hampers efforts, although eventually 3GPP standards for slicing, which are being developed, will be published.
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