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Combining network slicing with edge cloud unlocks opportunities for enterprises and CSPs

Combining network slicing with edge cloud unlocks opportunities for enterprises and CSPs

5G edge is transforming telecommunications by providing secure, high-performance, low-latency networks for business-critical applications. As enterprises shift to cloud solutions, network slicing offers efficient, end-to-end connectivity from devices to applications. Nokia’s innovative 5G edge slicing solution enables communication service providers (CSPs) to deliver tailored Virtual Private Network services, enhance user experiences and explore new revenue streams. In this blog, I will highlight Nokia’s role in advancing 5G edge slicing, showcasing successful deployments and the benefits of integrating network slicing and edge cloud technologies.

What business opportunities does 5G edge unlock? 

Business applications are rapidly migrating to public and private clouds, with more enterprises running applications on public internet clouds, hosted by local and global service providers. Meanwhile, business-critical applications in manufacturing, healthcare and artificial intelligence (AI) are deployed in private data centers and clouds. To keep pace, enterprises need secure, high-performance and low-latency mobile networks with the flexibility to support for new use cases and digitalize their business operations.

Therefore, it is no surprise that 5G edge is a strategic focus for CSPs. Major players such as T-Mobile US, Verizon and AT&T offer 5G Edge/Multi-Access Edge Compute services while Orange Business Services, NTT and KDDI provide business cloud services from their national and international data centers. Collaborations between operators such as Vodafone, Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Jio and cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services emphasize this strategic focus, leveraging their key assets in the market, such as network infrastructure and customer relationships to drive innovation and seize emerging market opportunities.

Of course, it’s not just about hosting applications in the edge cloud; the next step is delivering end-to-end managed mobile connectivity from user devices to business-critical applications running in the edge cloud. Network slicing offers the most efficient and versatile method to provide this end-to-end connectivity with clearly defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

How can edge slicing revolutionize enterprise Virtual Private Network deployments? 

In 2022, Nokia launched the first 5G edge slicing solution with Cellcom, Telia and the Sandvik Mining Company. This solution combines a sliced 4G/5G Virtual Private Network (VPN) with the enterprise data network and applications. These kinds of solutions enable CSPs to offer secure, reliable and high-performing VPN services over public 4G and 5G networks to their enterprise customers. With network edge slicing, CSPs can isolate critical business from internet traffic, keep business data local and bring enterprise applications closer to end-users and devices across campuses, cities, wider areas and more.

Nokia’s edge slicing solution comprises a virtualized end-to-end (E2E) structure, including device-RAN-transport-core-enterprise connectivity leveraging a distributed core user plane with local breakout at the Edge Point of Presence. This scalable solution supports the deployment of multiple sliced enterprise VPNs in the same area.  

Network slices can be tailored to customers’ use cases and applications based on network performance, quality, traffic routing, latency and security requirements. The slices are compatible with LTE, 5G NSA and 5G standalone (SA) devices, including URSP-capable multi-slice smartphones. E2E slice management, orchestration and assurance ensure cost and operational efficiency. Nokia’s slicing solutions adhere to industry standards and work in CSPs’ multi-vendor environments.

What customer value can CSPs create by combining edge cloud and Network Slicing?

At Nokia has pioneered edge cloud slicing in a live commercial network, with A1 and Microsoft Azure in Vienna, Austria. This solution integrates 5G edge slicing with Microsoft Azure’s edge and cloud on A1’s network, enabling CSPs to extend sliced 4G/5G VPN services to enterprise cloud applications. By combining edge cloud and slicing, CSPs can enhance user experience for applications, delivering high-capacity, secure and low-latency networks. This flexible deployment allows applications to be hosted locally or centrally at the cloud service provider, CSP or enterprise edges, tailored to customer needs.

Edge cloud slicing creates new business opportunities for CSPs with network slicing-as-a-service, spanning from mobile devices to a wide range of enterprise and business cloud applications, in sectors such as retail, media, utilities, healthcare and transportation. This solution supports the evolution of CSPs’ existing networks, allowing rapid deployment of new services tailored to enterprise customers’ needs, whether in industrial settings or city environments. Sliced edge connectivity fosters partnerships between CSPs and cloud and application providers, enabling them to build joint value propositions and specialized offers for various industries.

What monetization opportunities does 5G edge slicing unlock? 

Integrating network slicing with edge cloud allows CSPs to offer new scalable, secure and cost-efficient services to enterprise and industry customers, including:

  • Sliced 4G/5G VPN service in campus, metropolitan or wider areas with managed connectivity to enterprise data networks and applications

  • Network Slicing-as-a-Service with E2E managed connectivity from various devices to enterprise private and public cloud applications.

  • Premium 5G broadband services for smartphone business users with sliced connectivity to edge and central cloud applications.

  • Premium Fixed Wireless Access services with slices for small and home offices, as well as remote work setups.

By combining network slicing with edge cloud, CSPs can deliver these innovative services, transforming networks into efficient monetization platforms. As a pioneer in network slicing, Nokia leads the way in enabling these advanced solutions, opening the door for further revenue and business opportunities across enterprises.

Why Nokia? 

Nokia collaborates with customers globally on network slicing deployments, addressing a wide range of business technology and strategy topics. We have successfully implemented network slicing across diverse enterprise use cases, including slicing for business users, campus and metro area networks, logistics, transportation, port deployments, industry applications, remote vehicle control, electric and smart grids, mining vehicles, video surveillance, robot control and critical communications.

With our deep technical expertise, E2E know-how, extensive field experience and commercially ready solutions, Nokia has pioneered and innovated network slicing. Today, we are the market-leading provider of network slicing solutions, offering an advanced product and services portfolio that enables CSPs to monetize 5G opportunities for enterprises. We are well-equipped to support you in kickstarting your slicing journey.

Interested in learning more? Visit our web page on 5G edge slicing, or connect with our experts to discover how our edge network slicing solutions can benefit your business.

Mika Uusitalo

About Mika Uusitalo

Mika Uusitalo is Head of Network Slicing at Nokia. He has developed and introduced the industry’s first Network Slicing solutions for 4G/5G, Enterprise Virtual Private Networks, Fixed Wireless Access, 5G and Multi-Access Edge and Edge Cloud as well as Applications together with CSPs and partners. Earlier in his career, he developed new products, solutions and services for Internet, media distribution, mobile and IP networks. He has over 30 years industry experience and has worked in senior management and executive positions at Nokia, Sonera (Telia Finland), US West (Lumen) and Tahoe Networks.

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