SK, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson demo network slicing for 5G roaming

DT HQ (Deutsche Telekom )
Part of the demo was hosted at DT’s corporate R&D center in Bonn, Germany. Image: Deutsche Telekom

SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Ericsson have jointly built and demonstrated the first intercontinental 5G trial network, making SK Telecom and DT network slices available in each operator’s footprint, connecting South Korea and Germany.

The demonstration was hosted at DT’s corporate R&D center in Bonn, Germany and SK Telecom’s 5G testbed at Yeongjongdo (the BMW driving center) in Korea. The demo featured an industrial maintenance use case involving a repair worker communicating via Augmented Reality (AR) with support colleagues in a visited network. The scenario uses local breakout and edge cloud to enable the best service experience in terms of latency and throughput for the AR repairman, the companies said.

Present-day techniques provide a multitude of services—such as mobile banking and video/music streaming—over one network, but 5G network slicing can set up an optimized network environment for every service. Operators expect this will enable them to better and immediately introduce new services.

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The companies in the demo pointed out that a prerequisite for federated network slicing for 5G is a cooperation model where operators open up their network to host partner services. The home and visited operators must have agreements in place that enable the recreation of a given network slice in the visited network.

Such agreements should cover aspects including network slice availability at the access layer (cellular, fixed), availability in the core network and the connection to customer application servers. The visited network hosting edge cloud resources enables the execution of special business functions that demand high throughput and low latency close to the customer in the visited network.

”5G is not just a faster network. 5G will provide extreme user experience anywhere and anytime, even when the user roams across different operators globally,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO at SK Telecom, in a statement. “Federated network slicing will enable seamless platform sharing amongst operators at a global scale for continuous and guaranteed user experience.”

“Our customers are demanding global connectivity with a unified service experience,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO of Deutsche Telekom, in the press release. “Network slicing is envisaged as a key enabler to support multiple services in the 5G era. Today’s breakthrough shows we can extend that concept to ensure optimized service experiences with global reach for our customers.”

Of course, the operators and Ericsson will be happy to talk about network slicing at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona later this month. At Ericsson’s booth, visitors will be able to see the company’s joint demonstration with DT and SK Telecom on federated network slicing.  

SK Telecom’s booth will show how federated network slices can be created, managed and terminated in the form of NS-as-a-Service (Network Slice as a Service). The created slices can then be used in various applications, including V2X and connected cars. 

DT said it has created a 5G hub for MWC where visitors can experience a variety of technologies, including 5G-enabled robotics, an AR-enriched slot car track and a robot telepresence application on federated network slicing.   

Ericsson announced a couple years ago that it was working with SK to collaborate on the development of a 5G core network that deploys network slicing technology. Last summer, Ericsson said it partnered with SK and DT to deploy the world's first transcontinental 5G trial network. Ericsson was to be the sole infrastructure supplier to the partnership. At the time, the companies said they would be deploying NFV, SDN, distributed cloud and network slicing techniques.