Vodafone partners with Ericsson for on-demand 5G network slicing

Vodafone partners with Ericsson for on-demand 5G network slicing
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Vodafone and Ericsson have partnered up to deliver the UK’s first on-demand 5G network slicing.

Network slicing enables multiple virtual network “slices” to be created. These slices operate across the same physical network but are isolated from other traffic to ensure high performance for specific use cases.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK, said:

“Network slicing is an incredibly valuable step forward. By segmenting our network, and customising different slices for different requirements, we can bring to life new ideas that would be impossible otherwise.

When we configure our network to empower new services, industries like gaming, entertainment, and healthcare can enter a new era. What might seem like science fiction is one step closer thanks to network slicing.”

A virtual reality deployment in a retail store was used in a lab demonstration of the 5G network slicing capability.

Technology teams from Vodafone and Ericsson created an on-demand 5G network slice for the VR use case that provided a guaranteed download speed of 260Mbps and latency of 12.4 milliseconds.

Andrea Spaccapietra, VP of Digital Services at Ericsson UK & Ireland, commented:

“Network slicing will play a crucial role in enabling new and innovative 5G services for consumers and enterprises.

With the tools to efficiently manage network resources and provide differentiated services with dedicated performance, leading network operators like Vodafone can enable new business model innovation and use cases across different sectors and unlock new revenue opportunities to realise the full potential of 5G.” 

The whole process of setting up a 5G network slice – from initial order to carrying live network traffic – took just 30 minutes.

Each slice can be customised to account for requirements including minimum speeds, maximum latency, capacity, whether enhanced security is required, and if connectivity should cover a single office or nationwide.

Matthew O’Neill, Head of Networks at NTT DATA UK, said:

“This trial is an important step towards the broader provision of 5G network slicing, which will transform the UK’s network capabilities, supporting new and innovative use cases, and facilitating digital transformation across various industries.

This is a big step forward for carriers, as network slicing reduces the cost of constructing multiple private networks while enabling them to provide highly flexible services which can be allocated on-demand, based on service requirements. This improves the network value as well as the monetisation capability of carriers.

Businesses stand to benefit from the reliability, low latency and high bandwidth provided by networking slicing, which will enable them to deliver high-end experiences for their customers. While this initial trial has been used to augment VR use cases, it will be exciting to see other use cases put into practice.

The low latency functionality and the reliability provided by network slicing will play a vital role in enabling the Internet of Things, accelerating the rise of smart cities and building a more connected society.”

Here’s how the private slice performed when compared to the public network:

Key Performance MetricVirtual reality network slice (controlled environment)Public internet
Download speed (Mbps)26049.41
Upload speed (Mbps)16.58.17
Latency (milliseconds)12.435
Jitter (milliseconds)1.22

Ericsson’s reports estimate that 25-30 percent of potential 5G use cases will require network slicing.

(Image Credit: Vodafone)

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