5G, network slicing and cloud gaming
Network division: an overview
The slicing of the E2E network is a key enabler to unlock 5G opportunities, drive business model innovation and new use cases across various industry segments. Ericsson’s projections and in-depth analysis estimate that network slicing creates a $ 200 billion opportunity for communications service providers (CSPs). 90 percent of that revenue is expected to come from six major industry segments: healthcare, government, transportation, energy and utilities, manufacturing, media and entertainment.
Network slicing will play a crucial role in improving customer experience, quality of service, accelerating time to market, automating and delivering services with optimized use of resources. Large-scale network slicing deployment requires modern, automated Operations Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS) to take full advantage of E2E benefits. Data integrity, automation and operational simplicity are essential. Network slicing enables CSPs to move up the value chain, from connectivity providers to service enablers and service creators.
CSPs can leverage their current business and deployment readiness to immediately deploy slicing use cases, while continuing on their journey to discover new network slicing business opportunities. Some of the use cases that could be deployed now include critical push-to-talk, mobile cloud gaming, remote broadcast and production, freight management, and remote medical emergency assistant. As network slicing allows CSPs to move up the value chain, it has become important to co-create use cases with industry partners, systems integrators, application developers, and hyperscalers. Ericsson actively works with global operators, companies and other partners on business strategy, analysis and definition of use cases and co-creation of use cases in many segments of the industry.
Network slicing for games
Recently, Ericsson worked with Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Samsung Electronics to demonstrate an E2E network slice for a gaming use case. Some of DT’s main drivers were to increase the revenue potential of the company, l customer experience, secure and dedicated services with differentiated quality of service (QoS), automation and faster service delivery.
In this demonstration, two network slices were created. One slice was designed for mobile broadband user services (MBB slice) and another slice designed for gaming users (a game slice) with specific characteristics, such as low latency and high throughput capabilities. to provide a great experience for players. The device and the game application have used the game slice to provide better customer experience. This demonstration was implemented in an E2E network slicing configuration deployed at Deutsche Telekom’s laboratory in Bonn using Ericsson commercial grade autonomous 5G (SA) infrastructure. Integrated with Ericsson’s Business Support System (BSS), the configuration included Ericsson’s slice orchestration and order automation E2E solution for automated slice provisioning and user profiles.
The setup demonstrated the benefits of slicing the network in 5G, including how it responds to some of the key business drivers, such as customer experience, secure and dedicated services with differentiated QoS, and automation. Some of the key capabilities demonstrated were:
- Verify stable latency and guaranteed throughput in a congested network
- Automated creation of different slices with isolation of infrastructure resources
- Business Support System (BSS) integration for automated slice provisioning and user profiles through E2E slice orchestration
The process for creating an automated bay creation without intervention from order capture to a fully operational bay is as follows: Sales order management (COM) sends a network bay order request to order management. service (SOM) via the Service Order Management REST API (TMF 641 API). The SOM captures the customer intent received from COM and, together with the catalog manager, defines the correct product offering needed and creates the slice technical specifications that are sent to the service orchestrator. The Service Orchestrator deploys an end-to-end slice across the RAN, Transport, and Base domains. The Service Orchestrator leverages Tosca modeling to create a slice plan and leverages Ericsson Adaptive Inventory to make workload prequalification and placement decisions.
The Service Orchestrator interacts with domain orchestrators such as Ericsson Network Manager to perform RAN-related slicing configurations, such as QoS RAN flow. It delegates the deployment and configuration of the unit’s 5G core to NFVO (NFV Orchestration) and E-VNFM (Evolved VNF Management), which deploys AMF (Access and Mobility Management Function), SMF (Session Management Function) and UPF (User Plane Management Function) CNF (Cloud Native Network Functions) dedicated to the specific slice. It also performs other configurations on the network, such as saving the bay profile in UDM (User Data Management). Upon successful slice creation, the topology is automatically ingested into Ericsson Service Assurance Systems (CENX) with predefined assurance policies. A network slice is now active and its resources are continuously monitored by the service assurance system. Subscribers integrated into the new tranche can benefit from a differentiated service offering.
Overall, I think the network slicing will create huge new business models and revenue opportunities for CSPs. It will create new ecosystems where several partners can come together to collaborate and co-create to create new innovative use cases. To harness the full potential of network slicing, automation must be driven by modern integrated BSS-OSS systems. Service providers shouldn’t “wait until all the pieces are in” – rather, as part of their evolutionary journey, they should start testing and commercializing some of the short-term network slicing use cases while continuing to evolve towards the development of new businesses.
To help you on your journey, Ericsson has created a toolkit and many resources on network slicing.