Automated network slicing
Create new revenue growth
5G brings a quantum leap in data speeds, along with low latency and ultra-reliability. Operators can use these capabilities to provide a number of new services to customers, all using the same physical network. With network slicing, operators can create multiple virtual networks, or network ‘slices,’ which can be used for specific applications with specific requirements. For CSPs to create new revenue streams profitably and at scale, automation can drive profitable growth.
Revenue growth opportunities for CSPs
In consumer markets, CSPs are looking to generate new revenue growth and new value creation through partnerships with vertical industry enterprises and continued ARPU growth. With 5G-erancreased capabilities of 5G-era networks, including bandwidth, speeds, security and lower latency, offer a value that CSPs can bring to these markets.
5G-era networks are complex. They run on virtualized and containerized infrastructure with 100-fold more actions within the network*. The power of network slicing is that it enables CSPs with an efficient way to package these valuable network capabilities into differentiated, SLA-based services in a cost effective way that can drive profitable growth.
Delivering slice-based services at scale
To ensure success in network slicing, CSPs will need to drive the following activities:
- Developing a strategy to design and operate services which run across network domains – access, transport and core
- Adding capability within all those network domains
- Participating in a marketplace of devices that can connect to network services
The first two items -building and packaging services running across network domains and implementing connectivity capabilities within networks - are fully in the CSPs’ control.
As for the third item - there are already billions of 4G devices in the marketplace today, capable of supporting the emerging slice-based services. Operators can begin to offer slice-based services that support the existing variety of devices while they roll out their 5G networks and while device manufacturers are beginning to deliver new 5G-capable devices.
Overcoming the operational challenges of 4G and 5G slicing at scale
Changing how business does business is likely the greatest benefit that 5G can bring. Beginning this process and learning how to provide full 5G SA defined network slices now, can give CSPs an advantage in the future where "at scale" will involve hundreds of slices.
Karl Whitelock from IDC reveals how working through the operational details of 4G/5G network slicing today can prepare CSPs better to provide full 5G SA network slices.
Network slice orchestration and assurance
The Nokia Digital Operations and Cloud Operations Management software provide a comprehensive stack to effectively manage the design, deployment and operational assurance of slice based services at scale.
- Nokia Orchestration Center is where the E2E slice-based service management lifecycle begins. At this point, SLAs will be designed-in to the services and this ensures that the templates, models and policies of services are common throughout each slice instance lifecycle.
- The Nokia Assurance Center module of the Digital Operations Center supports those “designed-in” SLAs during slice service runtime and provides operational feedback into the Orchestration Center for further ongoing design and deployment of slices.
- The Nokia Cloud Operations Manager enables the integrated orchestration and management of the cloud infrastructure that each CSP selects to deploy their network functions.
Network slicing within network domains
A network slice extends from an end device to an application and includes all intermediate functions and domains. Those domains include access, transport, and core. Nokia has a strong value proposition in each of these domains to deliver a true end-to-end solution. End-to-end slicing can be seen as a chain which can only be as strong as its weakest link.
Slicing the Radio Access Network
RAN performance is usually the gating factor for user experience in terms of throughput, latency and reliability. Therefore, RAN network slicing is a critical part of E2E network slices. Slice-specific resource allocation, scheduling, and admission control enable differentiated traffic handling and isolation. Nokia's AirScale RAN solution lets CSPs manage prioritized admission control in the radio network, prioritizing essential data sessions as appropriate for the application (e.g., for public safety applications) and resource Control in the RAN, allowing to reserve the proper air interface resources to each network slice.
Slicing the Core
The core network is the anchor for 5G network slices, as it controls device subscriptions to network slices and UE network slice selection. The core is responsible for the core sub-slice and the instantiation and configuration of the required core network functions. The specific core network functions will depend on the attributes of the core slice such as coverage area, throughput, latency, resource sharing level, number of user equipment, etc. Nokia's cloud-native core provides the operations and automation to configure, orchestrate, secure and deliver most dynamic and stringent network services demands.
Slicing the Transport
A Transport slice is an abstract network topology connecting different endpoints with appropriate isolation and specific Service Level Agreement (SLA) described in terms of shared or dedicated network resources and level of isolation. Transport slices offer deterministic Service Level Agreements (SLA's) and play a large role in ensuring the end-to-end (E2E) slice SLA. Depending upon each CSP’s network approach, Nokia 5G Anyhaul – Microwave, IP, Optical and Broadband – delivers a comprehensive, capable and programmable 5G transport solutions for providers around the world.
Aligned with these networking capabilities, Nokia provides the full operational software stack. As each of the network domains are entire networks unto themselves, Nokia provides robust management systems for each domain. These systems include:
- Nokia SON and NetAct for RAN
- Network slicing for fixed access
- Network Services Platform for transport
- Cloud Operations Manager for the cloud.
Each of these is a fully operational system to support the respective network domains. As CSP procurement strategies vary, each of these domain systems was designed to operate in multi-vendor environments.
GTI Awards 2021:
Innovative breakthrough in mobile technology award
End-to-end 4G and 5G NR slicing solution
Nokia is the first vendor to launch new end-to-end network slicing functionality for 4G and 5G New Radio (NR).
4G-5G network slicing allows operators to start slicing from existing LTE now—not a 5G-only concept.
Slicing capability enables smooth evolution from existing 4G LTE, 5G NSA to SA.
The solution lets operators offer new mobile connectivity services for enterprise, internet of things, private wireless and fixed wireless access.
An on-ramp to network slicing
Nokia offers a comprehensive set of capabilities in the networks and in the operations systems to support CSPs with their move toward slice-based business models. These are standards-aligned products and software that are being deployed and operated by CSPs globally. For the network connectivity part of network slicing, Nokia has solutions in each of the network domains; access, transport and core. For the round-trip orchestration of the cloud and network resources and slice-based services, Nokia provides the complete software stack.