The building blocks for both deploying and managing a sliced network are available today. Why not start by taking the benefits of network slicing in your 4G/LTE network?
Network slicing is a powerful virtualization capability, allowing you to optimize resources for individual services or groups of services with similar requirements. Network slices are logical networks overlaid upon a common physical infrastructure, and they represent a smart way to build separate logical networks for different services or business segments. In effect, a slice creates a "separation of concerns."
You could therefore upgrade an IoT network slice driven by IoT business needs without any impact on the volume-revenue-generating mobile broadband operations. This separation can be used to provide guaranteed resources or special properties, such as low-cost deployment or critical communication services.
MWC 2018: Ericsson and Swisscom demonstrated network slicing for critical communications
Swisscom and Ericsson are closely collaborating on end-to-end network slicing for critical communications in a joint project to deploy and explore new use cases for 4G and 5G.
One use case, “Cellular for Critical Applications,” was demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2018, together with Swisscom and their customer, the Swiss railway company SBB. The demo showed how SBB no longer needs to run its proprietary mobile network infrastructure, but instead it can rely on its business partner Swisscom to provide an LTE network slice that has the same high availability characteristics as SBB would have had in its own network.
The network slicing solution includes commercially available features in Ericsson radio access network (RAN), such as RAN slicing and Quality of Service control, combined with Ericsson’s core network, management, and orchestration functionality for network slicing—all to provide an end-to-end network slice securing the reliability and performance of applications for critical communications.
So, what’s the feedback on the end-to-end network slicing solution?
Network slicing enables new business models. And this is exactly what’s on both operators' and enterprises’ minds right now:
- “Do I continue to own my network or could I use a network slice in an operator’s commercial network instead?”.
- “Can I do network slicing already in 4G?”.
Operators are looking into these opportunities, but many are surprised to learn that they can already start with network slicing in their 4G/LTE network, for example, having network sharing in both core and RAN with automated orchestration, addressing, for example, “cellular for critical applications”.
When is the right time to take advantage of the network slicing opportunity?
The simple answer is now. The market is quickly moving towards a much more diverse use of networks, allowing you to configure specific end-to-end network slices that provide the desired overall functionality, capacity, security, and other service properties for each specific use case.
From thorough analysis, we have insights for operators on how to start an IoT business today and evolve it with 5G. Investments in digital industrialization have a potential to generate an estimated USD 619 billion in revenue opportunity for operators by 2026, according to our 5G Business Potential report. This is more than an additional one-third revenue potential from 5G-enabled market opportunities versus the forecasted revenues from operators' current services.
Network slicing is a key enabler here, and starting to deploy it now will not only provide a smooth preparation for capturing this new 5G revenue from the beginning, but it will also address new market segments today, as shown by Swisscom.
You can use core network slicing functionality for any access technology. The building blocks for both deploying and managing a sliced network are available today.
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