Orange, HPE automate 5G slicing for Industry 4.0; HPE opens global 5G test lab
Orange and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have demonstrated 5G network slicing in a robot-powered Industry 4.0 setup. The pair said they will expand the demo into an “end-to-end campus trial” as they plot its broader availability. HPE has also announced a new 5G lab in the US for carriers and other partners to put open 5G systems to the test.
Massachusetts-based 5G provider Casa Systems is also involved in the network slicing project, which seeks to harness a slice of Orange public network for Industry 4.0 applications including location-based IoT telemetry and edge computing that make use of low-latency uplink and downlink channels in 5G.
For the 5G slicing demo, at the Orange Lab in Brittany, in France, a robot was fitted with a 5G radio and connected to management software over an open 5G core network, comprising cloud-native network functions from both HPE and Casa Systems. HPE’s network orchestration software was used to configure and deploy the 5G slice for the robot to connect at low latency.
It also showcased the ability for a cloud-native 5G core network to self-detect and self-correct quality-of-service (QoS) degradations on a network slice without human intervention. In the demo, the robot operates normally until additional data traffic and latency are introduced, when the robot’s performance is visibly impacted.
An alarm is triggered in the orchestration software, and a new dedicated network slice is created to restore the robot to normal operation. The capability to self-correct is considered crucial for industrial-grade 5G networks to underpin mission-critical operations, with service level agreements (SLAs) attached to networks.
Emmanuel Bidet, vice president of convergent networks control at Orange, said: “Our robot demo underscores how a cloud-native, software-defined 5G network will support latency-sensitive business use cases with automatic detection and migration to a dedicated network slice to meet the strictest SLAs for mission-critical applications.”
He added: “This is a new step forward marking the emergence of the real-time enterprise as companies now expect to use data as soon as it is produced from sensors, cameras, robots and other devices and services to power digital transformation strategies.”
HPE has also just unveiled a new 5G Lab in Fort Collins, in Colorado. The facility is for international telcos, as well as industrial partners looking to 5G to drive digital change, to validate 5G network solutions. Affirmed Networks, Casa Systems, Intel, Metaswitch, Openet, and Red Hat are putting their wares into the setup, as well.
HPE said the Orange demo shows automated network management of cloud-native, multi-vendor environments. Domenico Convertino, the company’s vice president of product management and communications, said: “An open 5G core is key for operators to break out of the single vendor lock-in of previous generation networks. The HPE 5G core stack, as well as our newly announced HPE 5G Lab, enable an accelerated evolution to 5G networking that is open and interoperable.”
Jerry Guo, chief executive at Casa Systems, commented: “This demo underscores the ability of major operators to build 5G networks using best-of-breed solutions from multiple vendors that are tailored to their specific needs instead of being locked in to legacy infrastructures and network migrations.”
HPE has introduced a number of 5G core networking and management solutions in recent months, including an open, cloud-native 5G core network software stack (HPE 5G Core Stack), a 5G network infrastructure management platform (HPE Resource Aggregator), and a multi-access edge compute (MEC) management platform (HPE Edge Orchestrator).
“The HPE 5G Lab provides a proving ground enabling telcos to validate these technologies, prepare for mass adoption, and invest with confidence, The company said.
Phil Mottram, vice president and general manager of communications and media solutions at HPE, said:
“Governments and telecoms operators around the world are looking to open 5G technologies as an opportunity to move away from a number of vendors which have raised fundamental concerns around security, resilience and market diversification.
“However, despite multiple successful deployments, doubts still persist about the ability of open 5G technologies to truly replace the old way of building networks. With the launch of the HPE 5G Lab, telcos, solution vendors and national stakeholders can test innovative new solutions with confidence and ensure that they are ready for mass adoption.”