Ericsson intros 5G RAN slicing to help guarantee private 5G for industry
The capability works with radio slicing of public 5G networks, for carriers to offer and guarantee virtual private (or ‘dedicated’) mobile networks; it also works with radio slicing of dedicated and hybrid private networks, using privately-licensed spectrum managed by enterprises themselves, or by mobile operators or other system integrators.
The idea is to optimise radio resources to deliver more spectrum-efficient slicing in the radio network, and guarantee performance of customised 5G services. Ericsson said the capability allocates radio resources at one millisecond scheduling, and brings “multidimensional service differentiation” across slices.
Network slicing, where slices of radio spectrum are carved-off and made exclusive for priority use cases, enable network providers to offer a dedicated cellular network with a higher order of control over connected machines and processes compared with public networks.
Slice management in the radio network, orchestrated with slicing in the core and transport networks, maximises this effect, said Ericsson, and holds appeal for a number of customer segments. The main application will be in the high-end IoT market, where bandwidth, latency, and reliability are key factors — such as in mobility, automation, and extended reality (AR/VR) cases in cities, factories, and healthcare.
The addressable market for network slicing in the enterprise segment is projected at $300 billion by 2025, according to GSMA data. The operator community is starting to offer dedicated and hybrid private networks to industry, even as interest in virtual 5G networks using slices of public spectrum starts to rise, notably among small and mid-sized firms.
Speaking at a private LTE and 5G event in Italy, yesterday, Vodafone ran through these three types of private cellular network for enterprise: dedicated, hybrid, and virtual, with the later type enabled by network slicing, linked with the public network, and only really ‘private’ in terms of site hardware and the network experience.
But slicing has been earmarked for any standalone 5G infrastructure, and will be useful for enterprises deploying dedicated and hybrid 5G networks, as well. Ericsson’s marketing has so far avoided majoring on go-it-alone pursuits in the private cellular space, and the press statement on 5G RAN slicing leads on the potential for carriers.
Ericsson said it is engaged variously around the world in managing 5G for RAN, transport, and core networks, plus orchestration, for video-assisted remote operations, industrial AR/VR, sports broadcasting, and smart city, Industry 4.0, and public safety applications.
Per Narvinger, head of product area networks at the firm, said: “What makes our solution distinct is that it boosts end-to-end management and orchestration support for fast and efficient service delivery. This gives service providers the differentiation and guaranteed performance needed to monetize 5G investments with diverse use cases. With 5G as an innovation platform, we continue to drive value for our customers.”
Toshikazu Yokai, executive officer and chief director of mobile technology at KDDI, commented: “End-to-end slicing is key to monetizing 5G investment and RAN slicing will help make that happen. Across different slices in our mobile networks, RAN slicing will deliver the quality assurance and latency required by our customers.”
Mark Düsener, head of mobile and mass market communication at Swisscom, said: “We’re gearing up for the next stage of 5G where we expect to apply end-to-end network slicing, and RAN slicing is key to guaranteed performance. With efficient sharing of network resources across different slices, we will be able to provide communications for diverse 5G applications such as public safety or mobile private networks.”