Network Slicing Changes the Game for Telecom 5G and Edge Monetization
Native network slicing with full multi-tenant isolation down to hardware level delivers better performance, flexibility and security with 10x reduced TCO
Telco service providers face a new wave of network investment needs from 5G and low-power wide-area networks to gigabit fiber build-outs in rural areas. There are exciting developments in industry 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous fleets and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for shopping, gaming and other applications. The problem lies in justifying investment on CAPEX when many advanced 5G use cases are still in their infancy stage. But the game is changing and early deployments of Standalone (SA) 5G, in which there is no dependency on 4G infrastructure, have demonstrated promising results (see Weaving 5G Edge white paper). New and diverse multi-vendor 5G Standalone cores will allow enhanced features from network slicing, low latency, enhanced security, and optimal network data analytics that can create new digital services and revenue streams for operators.
This video showcases Kaloom's slicing capabilities as part of Norway-based Telenor's groundbreaking demonstration of multi-vendor 5G core. It incorporates Kaloom’s 5G UPF and multi-slice capability to provide full isolation between each slice and deliver better security and quality of experience.
How does network slicing work?
Cloud-native 5G network slicing enables the partitioning of a physical edge data center into multiple independent virtual edge data centers, each with its own virtual fabric (vFabric) corresponding to a logical UPF slice instance that has its own differentiated network capabilities and characteristics. The logical slices can be created to originate in the Radio Access Network (RAN) which comprise the user equipment within a device segment, the base stations within the RAN segment, and the virtual networks within the Transport segment; all being within the purview of the Mobile Network Operator (MNO). However, even though the user traffic originates in the MNO domain, it is not contained there, as the mobile traffic contained within the slice must extend all the way to where the traffic needs to go to serve a specific use case in an end-to-end fashion. In this trajectory, the mobile traffic is passed onto the Core segment which may reside at an optimally located Data Center Operator that ideally comprises hardware accelerated 5G user plane function (UPF) and provides secure physical/virtual interconnect between 5G, multi-access edge compute (MEC) and private/public clouds to ultimately support end-to-end logical networks.
Each vFabric can be assigned to a different operator or customer, thus enabling multiple operators to share a common distributed cloud architecture. Tenant separation is flexible as separation is done at the hardware (port) level with full isolation offering better security and better quality of experience. Thus each ‘slice’ provides a fully isolated broadcast domain at the hardware level. Using the same physical infrastructure programmable fabric allows multiple customers’ network traffic to be carried on the same path, delivering a higher quality of user experience, not to mention faster time to services and 10X TCO savings.
Why does it matter?
5G networks need to serve customers with very different needs. By subdividing a network into virtual networks, each one can be optimized for a specific business case based on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with varying data speed, quality, latency, reliability, security and services.
Mobile network operators and data centers can now divide their network into smaller, virtual subnetworks and connect them to each other. Since each partitioned virtual network provides independent network functions, the services and functions can be adapted to customer needs. Slicing can be used to virtually partition the wireless access network as well as the core components of data centers and is highly scalable to millions of user sessions.
One of the strengths underlined by 5G networks is the ability to provide broadband and low latency connections, even when you have an exponential number of objects connected to the network. With network slicing, service providers can generate new revenue streams by providing both the onsite capabilities as well as by providing secure, multi-tenant application hosting/compute capability in a central office serving multiple customer locations in a metro area.