5G Network Slicing: Part 1 – What and Why?

As already mentioned in previous article(s), 5G represents more than just a fifth generation of mobile communication network. When utilized to its full potential, 5G will act as a stimulant for several other technologies like Internet of Things. It will transform many concepts to the reality – such as smart cities, homes or workplaces. While 5G can be branched into several sub-categories, most important one is the one we are going to discuss about in next few articles – the network slicing.

5G network slicing enables the provider to make several logical partitions of a single physical network, called slices. These slices can then be assigned for dedicated use. Several services can be structured onto a same network, while still assuring the quality of service, reliability and security.

Applications such as remote surgeries, autonomous vehicles require flawless and highly reliable connectivity with low latency. On the other hand, UHD video streaming/VR gaming applications require high speed and throughput. 5G network slicing addresses this complexity by enabling the operator to create distinct logical networks dedicated to meet the needs of each application. These network slices can be set up on the basis of latency demands, network coverage and bandwidth requirements.

However, there are certain practical limitations that operators might face with slicing. These limitations might come into picture as IoT applications will continue growing. With these growing demands, if the operator allocates a thinner slice for services such as UHD video streaming/AR/VR, it could affect the quality of service and reliability. Also, increase in the number of slices could create some challenges for the operator related to the slice management.

The 5G mobile network is like a pie. This pie must be sliced in a right way in order to efficiently utilize the potential of the network.

To be continued…

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