Network slicing will play key role in 5G networks

Single wireless networks will be separated into many, layered virtual networks when 5G is launched, experts say. The technique, called network slicing, is of a similar concept to software-defined networking (SDN), found now in some fixed networking, where managers program network behavior.

The way dynamic network slicing will work is that communications specific to a particular 5G application, such as those found in Internet of Things (IoT) sensors or video, will be layered over the top of a common infrastructure, then software will manage the different service types.

That’s unlike how wireless networks function now. Currently, infrastructure is loosely shared among voice and data with little consideration for just how much resource is needed. That throw-it-against-the wall method means assets get wasted.

“Sensors need to transmit small amounts of data sporadically, but frequently,” Dawn Bushaus writes in a TM Forum article. However, “an application, like remote surgery, needs huge amounts of bandwidth, extremely low latency and guarantees of availability and reliability” — thus the opportunity to provide adaptability for what will be a limited resource (like any other spectrum).

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