Vodafone and Ericsson trial 5G network slicing for mobile gaming

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Vodafone and Ericsson have completed a live network trial at Coventry University showcasing the transformative capabilities of 5G Standalone network slicing for mobile gaming.

The trial leveraged the power of network slicing, a pivotal feature of 5G Standalone networks that enables the customisation of connectivity services for specific customers and use cases. 

Phil Patel, Group Director of Product and Services at Vodafone, said:

“5G Standalone aims to deliver novel services that would not be possible on today’s networks. Few areas can benefit as much as cloud gaming, not only to improve customer experience but to open the door to entirely new types of content.

Today, immersive gaming is realistically limited to consoles—but with 5G Standalone, we can bring it to mobile devices.”

Participants in the cloud gaming trial benefited from an improved experience due to a 270 percent increase in throughput, 25 percent decrease in latency, 57 percent reduction in jitter, and smoother graphics rendering.

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

“5G Standalone is not an upgrade on 4G but an entirely new type of technology. Through this trial, we provided a slice of connectivity, customised specifically for gaming, to provide a full fibre-like experience over the airwaves.

This is the value of network slicing—a more personalised connectivity service to make digital more in-tune with each customer.”

The trial unfolded with participants engaging in cloud-based mobile gaming across two distinct connectivity scenarios:

  • Scenario A: This mirrored the performance of an existing public mobile network.
  • Scenario B: An isolated 5G Standalone network slice optimised for cloud gaming, boasting superior download speeds, minimal latency, reduced jitter, and immunity from network congestion.

Research conducted by independent gaming insights and consultancy agency Bryter validated the success of the 5G standalone network slicing trial:

  • In Scenario A, only 13 percent of trial participants ranked satisfaction above 8 out of 10, with 63 percent expressing dissatisfaction with rankings between 0 and 5 out of 10. Complaints included protracted loading screens, audio-visual glitches, and elevated latency.
  • In stark contrast, Scenario B saw 88 percent of participants ranking satisfaction above 8 out of 10. The improved gaming experience was attributed to faster loading times, smoother graphics rendering, and reduced latency and jitter.

Post-trial focus groups indicated that mobile gaming enthusiasts exhibited keen interest in the 5G Standalone gaming experience as the advantages of swift loading, diminished latency, and jitter offered them a competitive edge over fellow players.

Blessing Makumbe, VP & Head of Digital Services at Ericsson UK & Ireland, said:

“A 5G standalone-powered mobile network, coupled with services like network slicing, represents the next evolutionary leap in meeting the burgeoning connectivity needs of consumers and businesses.

Tailoring network quality to meet specific requirements of speed, latency, and reliability not only delivers the premium performance necessary for future applications and services, but also enables leading operators like Vodafone to introduce innovative offerings and expand their market reach.”

This trial underscores the pivotal role of 5G Standalone and network slicing in ushering in new use cases and experiences for consumers and businesses. With enhanced scalability and superior quality-of-service management, these advancements facilitate fresh business models across various sectors and offer CSPs new avenues for revenue generation.

Ericsson’s network slicing report forecasts that 25-30 percent of potential 5G use cases will demand network slicing to realise their potential.

(Image Credit: Ericsson)

See also: 5G Standalone deployments lag in H1 2023

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