Skip to main content
Sep 16 2016

Serving up vertical slices of the 5G network pie - New white paper

Twitter: @SvSharmaNokia

As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so do its applications in vertical industries. Sensors are already being used in production lines, electrical grids, logistics networks, vehicles and the clothes we wear. These IoT applications, supported by LTE, are boosting productivity, increasing efficiency and improving customer experience in industries such as automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, as well as the public sector.

But today’s networks will need to adopt a new approach to support the predicted growth in scale and diversity of use cases. Besides providing connectivity to billions of devices, future networks must be natively flexible to meet the diverse service requirements of various verticals and new use cases, each requiring different levels of throughput, reliability and latency.

5G will unlock the next stage of growth for the connected world. 5G can flexibly accommodate a wide range of use cases with strict and diverse service requirements for throughput, latency and reliability. 5G has built-in flexibility and adaptability to enable service providers opportunities to create new business models for consumers, enterprises, and industry specific services, as well as content and application providers.

The success of these new business models will hinge on the operator’s ability to customize and optimize the 5G network to address all diverse requirements efficiently.

Not all services are equal

When a voice connection is dropped, interrupting a conversation, the parties simply redial and continue. But the loss of an IoT connection interrupting the flow of critical, real-time data can have catastrophic consequences within vertical industries. For instance, a safety sensor within a utility smart grid monitoring excessive heat or pressure; a heart rate monitor attached to a human body or a telemedicine feed from specialists to emergency first responders at a scene; or rail and locomotive sensors working in tandem to safely deliver train passengers to their destinations.

The fact is many of the billions of devices connected to the IoT will require ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency, ultra-flexible and ubiquitous connectivity. 5G technology will enable network operators to provide all stakeholders with solutions tailored to their specific needs. Devices, data and services critical to vertical customers can be prioritized to be reliable and available at all times. Ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency 5G networks enable new applications such as remote surgery, autonomous vehicles, industrial robots, broadcast streaming of multi-view 4K and 8K media, and collaborative virtual reality.

5G dynamic end-to-end network slicing provides a unique approach to support all these verticals and their diverse service requirements.

One network supporting infinite use cases

Dynamic end-to-end network slicing transforms a single physical network into a multi-service fabric to precisely meet the service requirements of various vertical industries while meeting the mobile broadband requirements for traditional applications. It leverages Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), analytics and end-to-end orchestration capabilities to create virtual network instances across the edge, core and transport segments of the network.

By analyzing service level agreements and identifying KPIs, dynamic network slicing enables service providers to create different deployments, architectural flavors, and performance levels for each use case, subscriber type and application. It guarantees that the right network resources will be allocated at the right time and in the right place. For example, latency critical services could be allocated resources and capabilities in radio access or at the cloud’s edge to minimize delay. But to improve efficiency, these same resources and capabilities could be allocated in the central cloud.

Slices of new revenue

Hop on to the IoT future with a driverless bus from Sohjoa. Nokia employees in Espoo, Finland line up to take a tour from an AI bus driver.
Hop on to the IoT future with a driverless bus from Sohjoa. Nokia employees in Espoo, Finland line up to take a tour from an AI bus driver.

The limits of today’s most advanced LTE networks will be reached soon. Bell Labs Consulting estimates that by 2020 only 81% of global demand can be met by current Wi-Fi and mobile technologies, thus driving today’s industry development of 5G technologies. The vertical opportunities it presents in terms of business models and revenue associated with mobile video, smart cities, and the IoT, are greater than those offered by the arrival of the Web itself. In fact, over the next 4-5 years, Bell Labs Consulting estimates that IoT alone could present an opportunity 36 times the value of the Internet.

As the IoT scales exponentially, legacy networks will need to pave the way for  a network that efficiently and flexibly addresses the needs of all verticals. That network will be 5G and the means will be dynamic end-to-end slicing, which will allow service providers to partition their 5G networks to support very diverse and extreme requirements to optimally deliver any service to a wide variety of users, machines, industries, and verticals. And this will enable service providers to generate new revenue and reduce expenses to maximize the value of their 5G investment.

Download Nokia’s new whitepaper entitled “Dynamic End-to-End Network Slicing for 5G.”

Read the RCR wireless article:  Nokia demo at 5G World showcases industrial automation applications of 5G

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #5G #IoT

About Sameer Sharma

Sameer Sharma heads up the Autonomic Networks and Mobile Services research in Bell Labs, where we spearhead breakthrough technologies and innovations for next-gen mobile networks and services. Sameer has 20+ years of global experience in IP/Mobile Networking and Systems/Applications Software, working across Asia, Europe and USA.