January 29, 2019

How will 5G and network slicing revolutionize business?

Tom Leskinen

Head of Product Development Services, Tieto

5G networks are being built extremely fast and all telco companies are competing on getting their networks ready to be piloted towards commercial use. One of the most interesting technical innovation is network slicing – the ability to slice the network in different “virtual networks” that are designed to meet the different requirements of usage, for example real-time communications or services requiring high capacity.

5G implementations speeding across industries

The commercial launch of 5G seems to be approaching faster than originally expected, and announcements are becoming an everyday thing, not only in the USA but also in the Nordics: “AT&T Reveals First Commercial 5G Device”, “T-Mobile and Ericsson Sign Major 3.5 Billion Dollar 5G Agreement”, “5G-ready subscriptions already sold by Elisa” etc.

Now is a good time to start thinking about the opportunities that 5G will bring to your businesses as well. 5G will not be a technology that only brings more bandwidth compared to previous generation mobile networks. It will also enable widespread usage and utilization across many industries, due to its capacity, flexibility, and the fact that it was designed to serve different needs in an optimal way. It will enable a fully connected smart society of the future.

Top three 5G innovations

5G will introduce a large number of revolutionary technical innovations and improvements to 4G technology. The three most important elements of 5G can be summarized as follows:

  • Network slicing introduces the ability to slice the network into different “virtual networks” that are designed to meet the needs of specific user groups.
  • 5GNR (5G New Radio) includes new frequencies, radio technology and advanced antenna technologies that radically improve radio performance.
  • The main improvements in evolved 5G network architecture are cloud-native Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs), automated orchestration and the deployment of Radio Access Network (vRAN).

The power of network slicing

Network slicing is, in my opinion, the most interesting 5G technology – and also a technology which is quite often not fully understood.

Network slicing can be described as the ability to create “isolated virtual networks” in 5G. These virtual networks can have different design parameters for bandwidth, latency, reliability, security, coverage and service levels and thus be designed to serve specific application/solution needs optimally over the same 5G physical radio and core infrastructure.

For example, an IoT network or solution can utilize a Network Slice that is optimized for the real-time delivery of small information pieces from sensors that are distributed widely apart from each other. On the other hand, a video streaming service needs to have high bandwidth as its main parameter in order to optimize and guarantee great HD quality video broadcasting or streaming service.

5G and network slicing technology will, for the first time, serve the needs of low latency communication services.

Network slicing impacting industries

Network Slicing offers an optimized channel that has not been available before. A great example of the impact of 5G and network slicing comes from the automotive industry and connected vehicles.

With a dedicated network slice, vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity will be achieved in real-time. This enables transferring relevant, up-to-the-minute information about road conditions, traffic data, and other potential changing conditions to the vehicle. However, the same vehicle will also be receiving advertisements & news streaming data for big screens through another network slice. This data does not require a “real-time” network slice as a delivery channel, instead it uses a high-bandwidth optimized network slice.

In the 5G environment, different solutions and applications will be supported much more optimally than in a network which has only one “multi-service” network capability to offer. 5G operators can offer tailored slices and therefore also enable the design of different kinds of new applications and solutions with optimal network slice support present. We at Tieto are involved in developing slicing technology and in increasing the number of solutions that utilize network slicing.

This is why it is good to start planning and piloting new applications within 5G ecosystems and test available networks. Learn and optimize how 5G can accelerate or enable new application businesses.

5G is not in the distant future, it is the technology of today. It will enable applications and solutions that were not possible or feasible in the past. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about how your business can benefit from 5G. We are exploring the potential of 5G as well!

Just recently, Tieto announced a new strategic partnership around 5G with Telia.

Read more about how to harness the power of 5G networks to build innovative 5G solutions.

Meet us at Mobile World Congress at Barcelona.

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