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Ericsson and DT make 5G network slicing a bit more useful

A demo by Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson has introduced an on-demand element to quality-of-service control for enterprise use cases.

Network slicing is one of the major new features to come with 5G, the big idea being to allow the characteristics of the network to be tailored to the specific needs of individual business users. For example, a greater emphasis on bandwidth or latency. It stands to reason, therefore, that being able to do so dynamically is desirable.

According to the DT announcement, the demo represented a ‘world-first implementation of 5G end-to-end (E2E) enterprise network slicing combining network exposure capabilities for slice-specific service.’ Simple enough, eh? ‘By integrating network exposure into a service API on the network and application side, the quality of service provided in a 5G network slice is dynamically adapted to the performance requirements of the application.’

“The groundbreaking integration of network exposure capability into 5G network slicing lays a technical foundation for 5G service innovation,” said Alex Choi, SVP of Technology Strategy & Innovation at DT. “Working with partners like Ericsson, we will continue to explore 5G Standalone’s potential as we seek to build a flexible platform-based ecosystem with customer centric network-as-a-service models.”

“New digital services will become reality because 5G network slicing makes it possible to create fit-for-purpose software defined virtual networks with defined characteristics,” said Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson. “Standardized network exposure APIs provide mechanisms which allow third-party authorized applications to monitor and adjust the behaviour of such ‘slices’ within the boundaries of their subscribed services. We are very proud to closely collaborate with Deutsche Telekom as one of the globally leading operators, to bring the value of network slicing, exposure, and automation to the market.”

So what, exactly, is ‘network exposure’? It seems to be the opening up of the network to external tinkering, which presumably needs to be done with great care. It seems to be a prerequisite for the kind of thing this announcement covers but seems to have the potential for controversy, especially when you consider how twitchy everyone is about 5G network security already. Here’s a vid DT made when it last made a network slicing announcement.

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