Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom, Samsung claim world first in 5G network slicing trial

Global operator joins leading tech firms in test showcasing the benefits of 5G end-to-end network slicing optimised for cloud virtual reality game streaming, while also allowing service providers to offer customer-focused service assurance

Of all the proposed capabilities of 5G networks, in the enterprise space at least, network slicing is the one that perhaps offers the most potential in terms of business benefits, and positive outcomes have been demonstrated after a 5G end-to-end (E2E) network slicing trial carried out by Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom and Samsung.

Through 5G E2E network slicing, different service characteristics and quality parameters can be provided to each slice and adapted to customer needs with full isolation between slices. By creating multiple virtual networks on a single physical network infrastructure, Ericsson said service providers could develop differentiated services and business models without having to compromise on quality.

The test, said to be the world’s first of its type, aimed to show the benefits of network slicing optimised for cloud virtual reality (VR) game streaming. It was carried out at Deutsche Telekom’s Bonn lab on a Samsung S21 commercial device tethered to a VR headset using a commercial-grade 5G standalone (SA) infrastructure provided by Ericsson, including Radio Access Network (RAN), 5G Cloud Core, slice orchestration and ordering automation.

The cloud VR streaming game took place with two independent E2E network slices consisting of a default mobile broadband slice and a cloud VR gaming-optimised slice. The gaming slice was designed and configured to enable higher throughput and stable low latency, while also providing resource isolation between the two slices.

Capabilities investigated included the verification of stable latency and guaranteed throughput in a congested network; the automated creation of different slices with infrastructure resource isolation and service differentiation using Ericsson 5G RAN slicing solution; and business support system (BSS) integration for automated slice and user profile provisioning through E2E slice orchestration. 

The partners said the trial case demonstrated a superior experience on the gaming slice, even under congested network conditions. They also claimed that it saw the successful achievement of another important world-first milestone, namely the introduction of a 5G UE slicing policy feature – UE route selection policy, or URSP – that allows a device to steer applications and services with specific requirements to a defined slice. This means customers can experience enhanced service quality by serving applications with the right network slice.

“5G SA network slicing sets a foundation for the creation of new service offerings to consumer and enterprise customers,” commented Claudia Nemat, board member for technology and innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “As an experienced, focused company, it is essential that we demonstrate the value of 5G slicing for our customers’ lives. As a world first, our unique collaboration with Ericsson and Samsung to provide slices to commercial devices shines a light on how we can bring these benefits to our customers.”  

Erik Ekudden, group chief technology officer at Ericsson, added: “Network slicing is a key enabler for the monetisation of 5G. New digital services to consumers and enterprises become a reality because the technology makes it possible to create fit-for-purpose software for defined virtual networks with defined characteristics. To bring these services to the market, it is vital for operators to start from within their own business and to collaborate with customers, as well as relevant ecosystem players, to demonstrate value creation and technical readiness.”

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