I attended the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona with my wife Sarah this year and it was great to be back, although, I did notice that the footfall was rumored to be a modest 60,000 attendees compared with the pre-pandemic 110,000 in 2019. Nonetheless, Sarah and I were once again a couple of kids in a candy store, marveling at the new innovations being touted and celebrating the resilience of the mobile communications industry.
What is a 5G private network?
During our time at MWC Sarah and I overheard much discussion surrounding a new area of excitement. The usual suspects were all there, showcasing their respective advancements, which had emerged during the show’s absence. In particular 5G, where many purported to be in the throes of accelerating the technology, enabling it to truly deliver on its promises. But, it was the “5G private network” that was the new hero phrase, and there was an incredible amount of excitement surrounding it. Not an entirely new concept I know, but the phrase has developed a far deeper meaning now, due to the unforeseen change the pandemic brought about in the way we live and work.
In short, a 5G private network is a 5G public network, however, the private network allows its operator to provide priority access for its users using their own wireless spectrum. More so, an enterprise may also build and operate its own independent 5G network at a manufacturing site for example and, as such, varying implementations are available subject to your needs and requirements. So, a private network might prove beneficial at a site where dedicated coverage, confidence in speed and security is needed more than other wireless technologies, for example, such as Wi-Fi and similar wireless networks can provide. Moreover, whether you are an enterprise or a public sector, a 5G private network can be a tailored and optimized service for its users providing a high-speed and low-latency connectivity experience, whilst offering dedicated bandwidth that remains secure and assures its users of a consistent and “always-on” high-quality connection.
Many service and network operators are prepping 5G network slicing to offer customers uncompromised bandwidth for specific use cases with improved efficacy, performance and flexibility.
Dedicated 5G network slices
A private network is a portion or “slice” of the 5G physical infrastructure shared by multiple operators, which can be allocated based upon what application it serves. More commonly, the “network slice” or “networking slicing” as a verb, is a type of virtual network in the same domain as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). Both SDN and NFV provide greater flexibility with the division of network architectures into virtual components. Hence, “5G network slicing” is the provision of network virtualization that divides the overall network architecture into one or more distinct virtual connections that, in turn, provide several resources that can be dedicated to specific types of traffic or to address the diverse set of quality of service requirements.
Whilst many service and network operators are driving innovation surrounding the 5G landscape, they are also prepping the supply of 5G network slicing, in turn, offering their customers uncompromised bandwidth for specific use cases with improved efficacy, performance and flexibility.
Have we at last found a guaranteed end-to-end 5G connectivity experience for the consumer?
A robust connectivity solution
The delivery of 5G network slicing empowers operators to dynamically support a multitude of applications, along with accommodating the diverse requirements of a varied consumer base.
After all, one slice doesn’t necessarily fit all.
More so, communication service providers can also develop new revenue streams and significantly reduce capex. Likewise, opex can also be reduced due to the provision of virtualization which is, of course, used in network slicing.
With the availability of small cell technology, along with edge computing and advanced cellular solutions, businesses, enterprises and public sector services can wholly benefit from 5G network slicing, which offers more of a robust connectivity solution for their consumers. After all, our dependency upon instant access to connectivity has now become almost innate, and is akin to when we turn on a tap and expect water.
Until next time …
Users of network slicing are varied and diverse and include media, utilities, health, manufacturing, agriculture, retail and so much more. In particular, the increasing use of autonomous guided vehicles and robots in manufacturing will greatly benefit from a dedicated assurance of confidence in the technology used. Similarly, the smart factory and Industry 4.0 or the industrial internet of things will all be served with greater optimization and performance.
So, this is where “I ordered the large network slice” Dr. G signs off.
Originally published in Technically Speaking.