The 5G system has the aspiration of responding to the widest variety of services and implications in the history of mobile and wireless communications listed in:
- Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB).
- Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC).
- Massive machinetype communications (mMTC).
As a response to the needs of these services and applications, the 5G system targets a flexible platform that enables new business cases and models integrating vertical industries, for instance, automotive, energy, manufacturing, e-Health, and entertainment.
The suboptimal use of the mobile network is caused by the variety, and even contradictory, communications needs of such businesses. For instance, one business customer may need ultra-reliable services, while other business customers may require ultra-high-bandwidth communication or exceedingly low latency.
The 5G network has to be designed with the ability to offer different sets of capabilities to meet all these different requirements at the same time. So the most effective path is to run multiple
dedicated networks on a common platform: this is what “Network Slicing” supports.
Network Slicing Definition:
It is an end-to-end notion covering all network parts including radio networks, core, wire access, transport, and edge networks. It allows the concurrent deployment of multiple end-to-end logical, self-contained and independent shared or partitioned networks on a common infrastructure platform.
As for the mobile operator’s side, a network slice is an independent end-to-end logical network that works
on a shared physical infrastructure, able to provide a negotiated service quality.
A network slice can span across different parts of the network (e.g., terminal, access, core, and transport networks) and can also be deployed across multiple operators. A network slice includes dedicated and/or shared resources, e.g., in terms of processing storage, power, and bandwidth and has isolation from the other network slices.
Network Slicing Motivation:
It is a combination of configured network tasks and applications, and the cloud infrastructure (physical, virtual, or RAN resources, etc.), that are packed together to meet the expectations of a certain use case, e.g., bandwidth, latency, processing, and resiliency, together with a business goal.
From a business point of view, a slice includes a combination of all the relevant network resources, network functions, service functions and enablers required to fulfill a specific business case or service, including OSS and BSS.
An infrastructure provider will assign the required resources for a network slice, which in turn realizes each service of a service provider portfolio (e.g., the vehicular URLLC network slice, the health network mMTC network slice, the factory of the future URLLC network slice).
Programmability Enabling 5G:
5G Network Slicing Use Cases:
The following examples detail a few of the more different use cases to highlight the future abilities of network slicing.
1- Automotive Slice(s)
A modern “connected” vehicle needs a highly flexible network that can simultaneously deliver high
outcomes of in-car entertainment, ultra reliability, and low latency (URLLC) for assisted/autonomous driving, data gathering, and analysis from telemetry sensors, device-to-device communication, and more.
2- Industry Automation
A factory may request an URLLC slice from the operator for industrial automation production, letting the robots
in the production line to be controlled and thoroughly monitored.
Control and monitor system upgraded by industrial manufacturers are encouraged to be deployed in
edge data center (i.e., as a computing application) through an open interface provided by operators.
3- Slice for Massive IoT
The complication of network management will be raised if different massive IoT terminals exist in the
generic network. Operators can deploy various slices for different IoT users. These slices may have special
control functions and charging which makes network control easier and deployment faster.
From 1G to 4G, mobile communication is constantly changing our behavior, experience, and lifestyle. Coming to the 5G era, the mobile communication will keep changing our society by providing main foundations to further understand the IoT “Internet of Everything”: connecting sensors to create a smart city, connecting robots for manufacturing plants, human mobility enhanced by connected cars, and public transportation, etc.
To enable such a vision it is crucial to have more knowledge about the different requirements of the vertical industries and deliver results for them without sacrificing efficiency and keeping costs at their minimum. As one of the main advantages of 5G, network slicing allows a flexible system architecture able to meet these requirements.
- GSA website: www.gsacom.com
- 5GPPP Phase 1 Projects – https://5GPPP.eu/5GPPP-phase-1-projects
- 5GPPPArchitecture WG White Paper v1.0 “View on 5G Architecture”