Canadian operator Telus completed a multi-vendor network slicing proof of concept (POC) in a lab environment that the operator said demonstrated the maturity of the standard and the readiness of the technology for commercial deployment.
Although it was a multi-vendor POC, Telus worked closely with Ericsson. The network slicing POC was based on 3GPP Release 16 and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Layer 3 NW Yang Model.
Telus said the POC demonstrated that it was possible to designate different slices for vertical domains such as the core network slice and the IP transport slice. It also tested the ability of customers to order slices and use the orchestration technology stack. Ericsson said the POC incorporated the company’s dual-mode 5G core solution, the CENX service assurance platform and Ericsson’s service orchestrator.
The POC was used for different 5G use cases including enhanced mobile broadband and massive machine-type-communications. The companies also plan to collaborate on ultra-reliable low-latency communications. Telus said that by trialing these three different 5G use cases with the network slicing POC, it believes it will be able to start offering these types of customized services to its customers in different vertical markets.
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“This development is very meaningful as it lays the technical foundation for 5G evolution into a service-aware network that we can fulfill our commitment in delivering excellent service quality,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO of Telus.
Telus’ network slicing POC is an important step for the industry as network slicing is considered the primary way that operators will make money from their 5G networks. An Ericsson survey on network slicing that the company conducted late last year found that many operators thought the operating model for network slicing was a big challenge, followed by pricing and business strategy. Survey participants also said that the biggest technology challenge to deploying network slicing was OSS and orchestration followed by security.
Nevertheless, many experts believe that early adopters will start deploying network slicing later this year with more to follow in 2022.