5G Network Slicing: Part 4 – Service Continuity for a Slice in International Roaming

We are back with the topic of 5G Network Slicing. After discussing about applications, use cases and challenges for network slicing in first three parts of this series, let’s discuss in brief about how a 5G network will offer service continuity for a certain slice when roaming across networks. A 5G network should ensure seamless experience for all its services for devices that roam outside home network.

From a technical perspective, there are three approaches to ensure the availability of the slice in case of international roaming scenario:

  1. Standardized slice: A standardized and mutually agreed slice type is allocated to the roaming device. It is instantiated when in the visited network when the device is instantiated. As any 5G device roams into the network, the visited network instantiates the same standardized slice.
  2. Slice blueprint export: The home network provides the slice blueprint (template) to the roaming network. The visited network instantiates the template for the roaming device. The instantiated slice is identical to the one used in the home network.
  3. Virtual home slice: In this approach, as the device roams, the home network takes permission from the visited network to take control of its network resources. Once the control is granted, home network allocates the agreed resources for the device and instantiates the slice. This slice will be same as the one used in home network.

Securing availability of the slice resources in roaming scenario is one of the most important challenges for network slicing. Out of these three, slice blueprint export seems like the most practical and viable approach for service continuity.

We will be posting more interesting articles in this series. Stay tuned!

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