Ericsson and DT reckon they’ve cracked global network slicing

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson has teamed up with German operator group Deutsche Telekom to demonstrate a new network slicing proof of concept.

The point of network slicing is to be able to tailor the characteristics of a network to the requirements of the user. So, for some maximum bandwidth might be the priority, while for others it could be to get the latency as low as possible. It seems that these priorities are, to some extent, mutually exclusive so network slicing was created to enable the ability to pick one.

Presumably this facility is of limited use, especially for the enterprise customers it’s designed for, if it has to be re-established whenever you cross a national border, hence this announcement. Specifically they refer to it as ‘a breakthrough proof of concept implementation of global 5G end-to-end network slicing to facilitate uniform international connectivity for latency-critical enterprise applications with guaranteed quality of service.’ Catchy, eh?

All manner of software cleverness was required to pull this off, we’re told, including SD-WAN and end-to-end service orchestration. The guaranteed quality of service is a key feature of network slicing, with resulting service level agreements presumably vowing a certain minimum level of delivery on pain of refunds and performative grovelling. So the aim of this demo was to show QoS can be maintained across borders – specifically the German Polish one in this case.

“Combining different technologies in an intelligent and flexible way across borders to address the emerging needs of globally operating enterprises is another proof point of the promise that a global 5G ecosystem can offer,” said a somewhat understated Ericsson CTO, Erik Ekudden. American marketing people could learn a thing or two from the Swedes.

“Network slicing is a key 5G enabler to deliver tailored connectivity services to enterprise customers,” said Alex Choi, SVP Technology Strategy & Innovation at DT. “By flexibly combining 5G slicing with SD-WAN in an international setup, we can address the emerging need among enterprises for uniform global connectivity with guaranteed quality of service.”

We’ve been banging on about network slicing for years as a defining feature of 5G but the jury is still out on that. How many companies are willing to pay a premium to fine-tune their 5G network in this way? Was this feature created in response to demand or merely because the likes of Ericsson and DT knew a bit more bandwidth wasn’t enough, by itself, to justify hyping up a new ‘G’? Time will tell and it will be interesting to see what the talk on the show floor of next week’s MWC is on this topic.

  • Private Networks in a 5G World

  • 5G Networking Digital Symposium

  • LIVE: Getting the Best out of 5G

  • 5G Ecosystem Digital Symposium

  • 2020 Vision Executive Summit

  • TechXLR8

  • BIG 5G Event

  • 5G World

  • 5G Latin America


  1. Avatar Simon Pike 21/02/2022 @ 10:20 pm

    This trial appears to have only involved one vendor. What is the situation if the operator used by the enterprise customer has different vendors in the counties that it operates? Will network slicing still ‘deliver’ in that case?

  2. Avatar Luc-Yves Pagal Vinette 22/02/2022 @ 12:13 pm

    As a Network Slicing expert, I have little faith in Ericsson having the capability in driving Network Slicing forward. Ericsson has limited capabilities in End-to-End orchestration and also on a per domain perspective, no Open RAN, limited cloud native, limited Service Assurance for granular visibility across HW and service layers.

  3. Avatar Molvi Abrar Ahmad Shah 22/02/2022 @ 2:18 pm

    I believe SA core is very important to achieve slicing. Was it tested on SA Or NSA.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 22/02/2022 @ 2:28 pm

      My bad – SA

  4. Avatar Mike H 23/02/2022 @ 5:57 am

    I hear a lot of Ericsson-bashing in the comments here.
    I speak from experience of a Nokia-based SA Core network; Ericsson works better, and has innovated years sooner than Nokia.
    Samsung? They’re pretty good too.
    But Ericsson VoNR worked first on TMUS, still hear reports of crappy 5gSA experiences in Nokia markets for TMUS.

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