The telecom industry is abuzz with talk of the future of data. As systems become more sophisticated, cities grow more connected, and the Internet of Things (IoT) changes how we interact with our homes, cars, and each other, the requirement for highly reliable and scalable bandwidth is growing rapidly. Marc-Antoine Boutin, Director of Product Management at CENX, discusses this in-depth in a recent two-part VanillaPlus article, “Network slicing unleashes 5G opportunities, when service quality can be assured.”
5G systems are expected, within the next few years, to be built in a way that enables network slicing; this will provide solutions to a broadening set of network demands. The network slicing that 4G networks enabled allowed for some new possibilities, but the opportunities offered by incorporating radio into network slicing with 5G will add considerable capacity and a greater user experience. 5G network slicing can provide connectivity for IoT devices requiring highly reliable, secure and available data services, while simultaneously providing high data speeds and low latency for a variety of other services. As Boutin put it, “the real benefit of 5G is that network slicing will enable application designers and network architects to build end-to-end virtual networks tailored to their applications’ requirements and implement throughout the entire network”.
Beyond the many benefits of 5G network slicing, there are some other considerations. In his article, Boutin goes on to discuss the possible pitfalls that the rapidly expanding and increasingly complex adoption of these 5G network slices could cause. He points out that if the virtualized requirements for those networks are not carefully designed and properly instantiated on physical networks through orchestrated software-defined networks, they could run slower than expected, consume more resources than anticipated, and become brittle and unreliable.
As carriers are busy building their plans for how to develop their 5G network slices over the upcoming years, service assurance certainly must be top of mind. Boutin says, “end-to-end service assurance – extending through the RAN and other aspects of the mobile connection – will be key to ensuring that service level agreements are met, resources are used effectively… and customers will be happy”. If service assurance is carefully managed, the power and capacity provided by 5G network slicing will deliver capabilities that will help usher us into this world of greater-than-ever connectivity.