BT researching network slicing with Huawei for future 5G services

BT researching network slicing with Huawei for future 5G services

BT and Huawei have announced a research programme into network slicing, a technique that will allow parts of 5G mobile services to be set aside for key customers and applications.

The announcement follows a wide-ranging 5G collaboration agreement signed by the two companies in December 2016.

But it also follows announcements from other vendors, especially Nokia and Ericsson, that they are also working on network slicing. Deutsche Telekom said in December 2016 that it is working with Huawei on the theme.

Howard Watson, CEO of technology, service and operations at BT, said: “It’s our role to ensure that our fixed and mobile networks deliver the best possible experience for customers regardless of the demands placed on them.”

Network slicing will allow parts of an IP-based network to be ring-fenced for particular activities – such as enterprise services and live TV channels carried over 5G, but also including critical emergency services. The idea is that individual services will remain unaffected by bandwidth demands on the network as a whole.

Yang Chaobin, president of the 5G product line at Huawei, said that network slicing will allow the industry to build “a common infrastructure serving different vertical industries”. Network slicing “will be critical to effective delivery of services and improved efficiency”.

The companies said that new 5G slices can also be spun up in an agile way according to customer needs. “Customers are increasingly demanding converged networks that deliver a mix of flexibility, reliability and optimisation,” said Watson.