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SK Telecom, Ericsson show off 5G network slicing breakthrough

Engineers developing 5G networks have just had an atom-splitting moment, as two stakeholders of the technology have successfully demonstrated bandwidth partition for the first time.

SK Telecom and equipment maker Ericsson have jointly demonstrated 5G network slicing technology at the telco’s research and development centre in Bundang, Korea. The two firms are pioneering a technique that creates different virtual network slices optimized for a range of services that includes super multi-view, Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality(VR), IoT and enterprise systems.

The demonstration proved that they can isolate and protect these virtual network slices from one another, which has been one of the biggest challenges when dividing one physical network into multiple virtual networks.

The technology is yet to be ratified by standards bodies such as 3GPP and ITU. However, the demo could give global operators, equipment vendors and service providers a benchmark to work on as they develop strategies for supporting diverse 5G services.

The demo is the first fruit of a partnership that began in July when Ericsson and SK Telecoms signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development of 5G core network slicing technology. As part of this collaboration effort, the two companies are jointly building what they claim is the world’s first Hyper-scale Datacenter System (HDS) as a dedicated cloud facility for 5G. It is due to open in early 2016.

“Network slicing is one of the key enabling technologies for our IT-based based 5G architecture,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Chief Technology Officer at SK Telecom, “the successful demonstration of network slicing technology is a significant step forward to achieve the world’s first commercial deployment of 5G.”

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