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Nokia, Proximus test 5G network slicing

Tests show consistent customer experience under congested network conditions, says Nokia

Nokia and Belgian telco Proximus announced this week that they’ve tested 5G network slicing under what the companies called “demanding network conditions” to demonstrate how consistent the customer experience can be when network slicing is active. Nokia said it expects to commercially deploy the solution in the third quarter for 5G standalone (SA).

This trial was performed using 50 megahertz (MHz) of mid-band spectrum on Nokia 5G AirScale base station, according to Nokia, which said this is the first time new advanced RAN slicing functionalities have been tested on the AirScale platform. 

Three devices were configured on three end-to-end slices configured with 60, 30 and 10% of available bandwidth resources. Nokia claims each device reached maximum bandwidth when connected individually, and reach their assign capacity when connected simultaneously.

Nokia said the trail provided an example of how Communication Service Providers (CSPs) can dynamically adapt slice parameters and set radio resources per slice. This resource allocation scales for a network shared between multiple network operators, it claimed.

5G network slicing is a feature of a cloud-native 5G network architecture that leverages the principles behind network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), allowing for flexible, programmable converged networks. Each network “slice” is an isolated, bespoke end-to-end network tailored to fulfill the requirements of a particular application. 

Nokia said that the slicing allocation can be applied for 5G SA and 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) traffic.

“It also complements the capabilities already available in LTE providing seamless continuity between 4G and 5G networks. Radio software-defined networking enables real-time management of RAN resources, schedulers, quality of service, security, traffic isolation, and routing required especially to customize a slice to the specific need of the business applications and/or use case. It can be applied for 4G/5G slicing and edge slicing,” said Nokia.

Network slicing is the foundation of many use cases unique to 5G, ranging from private enterprise 5G network deployments with specific service-level agreement (SLA) requirements to low-latency applications like AR and VR which demand the flawless operation of the network at its near and far edge, closer to the user. Network slicing technology is held as a key feature of 5G Standalone (SA) networks, and promises to be an effective way for operators to gain maximum flexibility and control of their 5G networks. 

In March, Vodafone and Nokia rival Ericsson announced an end-to-end network slicing trial under laboratory conditions which yielded consistent download speeds of 260 Megabits per second (Mb) and 12.4 millisecond (ms) latency. 

It was more than a year ago that Nokia and Proximus claimed to have tested the world’s fastest fiber access network. Operating over existing fiber and Nokia equipment deployed in the Proximus network, the first 25G PON live network connected the Havenhuis building in the Port of Antwerp with the Proximus central office in the middle of the city. The network speed exceeded 20 Gbps, Nokia said.


Peter Cohen
Peter Cohen
Peter is Technology Editor for RCR Wireless News. His coverage areas include telco cloud and the convergence of 5G and cloud computing. Peter's background includes IT management and a decade as a senior editor at Macworld. He and his family live in Massachusetts.

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