How to tap the 5G potential with Ericsson’s 5G RAN Slicing solution

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The eagerly anticipated arrival of 5G has the industry excited as to its potential, with commercial 5G networks already going live around the world. As 5G enables new business models across different industries, Network slicing will play a crucial role in enabling service providers to offer innovative services.

Here Ajay Gautam, Strategic Product Manager 5G RAN, Ericsson, discusses the potential of 5G in gaming and what the Ericsson 5G RAN solution can offer.

Ajay Gautam, Strategic Product Manager 5G RAN, Ericsson

Why is 5G RAN slicing key to delivering on the promise of 5G? As a vital part of end-to-end network slicing technology, RAN slicing will help unlock the potential of a wide range of use cases for various industries, enterprise and enhanced mobile broadband segment. Here we discuss what is Ericsson RAN slicing and how it can help realise the full potential of 5G.

From smartphones to smart factories, the promise of 5G is an open innovation platform that enables business and society to take the leap towards a smarter, safer and more sustainable future.

5G network slicing gives service providers the ability to serve a multitude of use cases with lightning-fast connectivity and enhanced performance. Service providers around the world are moving towards 5G network slicing, where slices of virtual networks are allocated to meet connectivity demands of different use cases. Network slicing facilitates service differentiation and secures the necessary capacity and performance during high load to fulfil service-level agreements (SLA).

A case in point is online gaming. An Ericsson ConsumerLab survey of 7,000 consumers found that 90 per cent of those who play video games at least weekly were negatively affected by lag when playing, with at least 1 in 3 sometimes quitting as a result.

Different game genres have different data rates, latency and reliability requirements on mobile networks. This is an area where service providers can offer customised slices for cloud gaming or any AR/VR application. The slicing framework can reserve dedicated resources by orchestrating these across the radio, transport and core networks.

Just like with this cloud gaming example, service providers can use network slicing as a way of differentiating their 5G offering. It helps tap the huge potential of a wide range of use cases for the enterprise and enhanced mobile broadband markets with guaranteed performance.

Ericsson RAN slicing solution enables service providers to offer differentiated handling of new services with respective quality of service and radio resource management for SLA fulfilment. What’s more, our solution is scalable and flexible enough to support a growing number of slicing use cases with faster time to market.

Q&A with Zoran Lazarevic, Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson Middle East and Africa

Zoran Lazarevic, Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson Middle East and Africa

Where do you see 5G in the MEA region?

Globally, as a society, we have taken giant leaps towards digitalisation spurred by the global pandemic we continue to face today. The fundamental need for good connectivity is key to this digitalisation journey and our studies show that demand for capacity and coverage of cellular networks continues to grow across all those regions. In the Middle East and North Africa region, commercial 5G deployments with leading service providers have taken place during 2019 and 2020 and we estimated that 5G subscriptions reached close to 1.4 million by the end of 2020, with most in the Gulf countries.

Significant 5G volumes are expected in 2021 and the region is likely to reach around 130 million 5G subscriptions in 2026, representing around 15 per cent of total mobile subscriptions. We should also highlight that Communications Service Providers (CSPs) in Gulf countries are one of the global leaders when it comes to 5G deployments with some of the globally first 5G networks launched in Gulf countries. Nowadays 5G networks in Gulf countries are providing some of the highest 5G average speeds and we expect this leadership will continue in the future.

Will we see an uptake of 5G in Latin America?

Latin America has a similar steady decline in 3G is forecast as users migrate to LTE and 5G. To date, Brazil and Colombia have launched commercial 5G services, and other countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Mexico are investing in and deploying 5G. By the end of 2026, 5G is set to make up 26 per cent of mobile subscriptions.

What is the future of 5G and fintech in your opinion?

Over the course of the past several years, the financial sector, in general, has been increasingly trying to digitise its services. This move towards fintech will absolutely be accelerated by 5G as networks across the globe will be able to handle, in a secure way, a larger number of transactions compared to what was possible with previous technology. Financial processes will be streamlined through mobile technology and made accessible to a large population, especially in rural areas.

Flexible 5G architecture will enable fintech, and other industries, allocation of the network resources as per their needs through advanced network slicing capabilities. Ericsson recently launched 5G RAN Slicing enables radio resources at 1-millisecond scheduling and supports multi-dimensional service differentiation across slices. This strengthens end-to-end slicing capabilities for dynamic resource management and ensures the high-quality end-user experience required by diverse use cases. What this means for fintech and a host of other industries is that they will have the ability to provide a true real-time experience, while also developing creative new tools and services and facilitating faster and simpler payments.

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