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The 5G phenomenon will enable businesses to become more innovative and develop greater revenue models. This is especially true for telecom services providers. But to help service providers provide new and improved services, network slicing will play a major role.
End-to-end network slicing can provide the ability to deliver faster services through known use cases so that service providers can generate more profits. Operators will be able to increase the return on investment by efficiently using network resources to cater to a variety of customer needs (automation, virtual reality, IoT, etc.)
In today’s blog, we talk about the role of network slicing in expanding the 5G potential.
What is Network Slicing?
As the name implies, ‘network slicing’ is the process of dividing network connections via virtualisation into multiple connections. These virtual connections, in turn, provide different amounts of resources for different types of traffic. So services providers can ‘slice’ their networks according to customer use cases, be it smart homes, connected cars, smart energy grids, etc.
HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling)
Horizontal directional drilling is giving the industry an upward push, and it has proved to be popular in fibre optics. FMI has estimated that communications capital expenditures will increase to approximately $70 billion this year, with mobile network bandwidth expanding 500 per cent over the next four to five years which considerably increases the demand for HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling).
The need for fibre-optic and installation has been a good thing for the HDD market. This increase will have a long-term effect on the market as the demand for more bandwidth and wireless communications will continue to be a part of our daily lives. Consumer thirst for real-time entertainment will only continue to grow from cell phones to videos to laptops to tablets.
If this demand continues to rise, HDD will reap the rewards. Contractors are already spending their dollars on new drilling rigs to handle the upcoming demand. Another good thing about HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) is that it avoids soil contaminations and lowers the chances of ground disturbance. The installation of fibre cables via HDD is essential for the effectiveness of 5G network slicing. However, installation can be particularly noisy, and it’s critical where the 5G company locates and operates its systems.
eMBB, uRLLC, and mMTC
The eMBB service works with mobile services with high bandwidth needs. For instance, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and 4K videos.
The uRLLC focuses on services which need low-latency, like remote management, and yet it meets the expectations of highly demanding industries.
Finally, mMTC works for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, and other applications that require a higher connection density.
E2E Network Slicing
The 5G network is efficient and flexible enough to meet the mobile service requirements in the future. With Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) supporting the underlying Software-Defined Networking (SDN), 5G will become the best cloud service for radio access. Enabling E2E Network Slicing of 5G network, on-demand deployment and automated capacity planning will be made easier by connecting the mobile with the cloud.
E2E Network Slicing is obligatory to support 5G services as the infrastructure of these networks relies on SDN and NFV technologies. There is a need for sufficient storage, firm computing potential and real-time performance so that 5G, LTE and Wi-Fi can function flexibly in the three-layered data centre architecture.
Maintenance and Installation Costs
The triple-layered data centre can be classified into three parts; bottom, middle and upper layers. The bottom layer is closest in proximity to the main network and is based on the central data centre. The middle layer is like a local data centre. The upper layer is called the regional data centre. All the layers connected by the latter through MPLS.
Using the NFV in the data centre architecture, 5G will produce a pack of network topologies and network slices for each service. Network slicing will make sure that the exact resources in the joint network infrastructure are used for the service which will result in lower maintenance and installation costs for the operating network.
Mobile Cloud Engine (MCE) and eMBB, uRLLC and mMTC
The eMBB slicing needs high bandwidth to deploy caching in the Mobile Cloud Engine (MCE) of the local data centre, which provides high-speed services in close proximity to the users at a lower operating cost.
The uRLLC slicing has strict latency requirements to support remote management. The RAN-Real-Time and RAN-Non-Real-Time functions are placed in the most favourable location for the user. RAN-RT is placed closer to the access network whereas the RAN-NRT is a bit further down the data centre. Communication services used in self-driving set-ups are handled by the Mobile Cloud Engine in the central data centre which provides very low latency. The control-plane functions lie further from the user in the local and regional data centres.
The mMTC slicing consumes small amounts of network data, which allows the Mobile Cloud Engine to be deployed in the local data centre. To reduce the overall operating expenses and to release the central resources, additional functions can be installed depending on where a 5G company locates its network.
Throughput, latency, and amount of connected devices have other demands. Network slicing enhances the use of existing hardware, resulting in lower OPEX and CAPEX. Therefore, there are several things that the companies will have to consider so that they can ensure absolute 5G readiness.
To sum up, network slicing will be a very helpful tool in establishing new 5G technologies and in meeting all the business needs. 5G has opened the door for new business models and opportunities thus creating a whole lot of jobs. And with its maintenance and installation costs being low, it will become widespread. Especially since optical fibre cables can be easily installed using (HDD) horizontal directional drilling, which is a cost-effective method with almost no ground disturbance.