A network slice is all the resources, including RAN and core network functions, required to fulfil end- to- end service. Individual network resources are shared or dedicated to a particular slice. Individual slices will have different characteristics including QoS and latency and individual devices will be able to access multiple slices simultaneously. But what happens when one of these components fails in the wider 5G cog? How does this impact the overall end user experience? Below are 5 network slicing use cases for CSPs to carefully consider as part of a wider 5G rollout plan.
With the continued commercialisation of 5G, new technologies are creeping up on us at a rapid pace. Remote surgeries, in particular, are one of the most breakthrough cases of 5G. Tiny robotic arms performing high risk surgeries, all controlled by expert surgeons that might be half way across the planet. Fascinating!
Earlier this year, the first 5G-powered telementored operation was performed by Dr. Antonio de Lacy in Spain. During the operation, the 5G connection had a lag time of just 0.01 seconds, compared to the 0.27-second latency period with the 4G wireless networks that currently predominate in developing nations. GSMA Director General Mats Granryd stated that “If you are going to do remote assisted surgery, you need to be almost there in person. You cannot have more than a couple of milliseconds latency. And that is where 5G technology comes in,”.
In order to ensure superior network coverage in remote surgeries, network slicing is becoming paramount to a CSPs 5G strategy and requires careful planning to deliver the best customer experience possible.
There is nothing more frightening than a teenager who is on the cusp of winning an online battle with their biggest opponent based on the other side of the world and the network goes down. Controllers are fired across the bedroom in a rage of anger and parents are left to suffer the consequences.
This may seem a bit of an exaggeration, but actually the mobile gaming industry is worth a flabbergasting $69 billion dollars and growing at over 10% YoY (according to Techcrunch). Mobile Gaming is no longer viewed as an activity for young teenagers. It has evolved into a lifestyle for all age groups. Because this lifestyle is online, a dedicated network slice needs to be in place as a solid foundation.
About 40% of adult American drivers are leaning more to buying self-driving cars, according to a survey by Reuters. This increase in popularity is encouraging large multinationals such as General Motors Co, Uber Technologies Inc and Apple Inc to invest heavily on vehicles that can drive autonomously.
Although there is increasing support for self-driving vehicles, there are many factors involved in launching these vehicles to market such as infrastructure, technology and regulations. Although CSPs need to ensure superior quality of service via a dedicated network slice, they must also ensure their technology ecosystem partners uphold that same benchmark or customer experience will be dramatically impacted.
Sports is another industry that is quickly utilising 5G to its advantage. New technologies have made it possible to interact in new ways with a sporting game. AT&T revealed how its 5G network at the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium will be used. “Throughout the season, we plan to offer four unique 5G activations that will begin to change the way fans interact with the game, including life-size digital versions of star players and live stats overlaid on the field using the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G,”. As well as seeing the players and touchdown dances up close, people with a Galaxy S10 5G at AT&T Stadium in Dallas will be able to track team performance and view live stats using augmented reality.
With a densely-packed crowd, stadiums will most likely need their own slice or slices – perhaps with added real-time charging capability if users want to upgrade services on the fly
CSPs are also allocating dedicated network slices to IoT. High-value IoT use cases such as inventory management, smart metering & medical wearables require exceptional quality of service and in some cases the ability to charge accordingly for this service. However, one increasingly concerning aspect of network slicing is security. With network slicing, mass surveillance of IoT slices is possible and intrusive measurements could potentially be taken e.g., wearables knowing that a female is pregnant before she knows it. This is a concern for end-users, particularly should hackers access this information. Enterprises need assurances that the right vendors and data monitoring tools are being applied to overcome current and future challenges.
5G technology has opened a whole new world of possibilities. It has been estimated that the 5G services industry will be worth $300 billion by 2025, according to Juniper Research. However, in order for CSPs to capitalise on the opportunities of 5G while ensuring end-user satisfaction, they need to ensure they have carefully thought out their network slicing strategies. CTOs must ask themselves the very difficult question “do my existing systems enable me to effectively monitor and control for each network slice?”