Nokia introduces pre-5G network slicing

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Feb 26, 2020

via Flickr © pj_vanf (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © pj_vanf (CC BY 2.0)

  • Claims it will get telcos into the slicing business today with their existing RANs
  • Expects it will be used to link reliable, secure services into public and private clouds
  • Will start roll-out this summer

Nokia has announced that it has readied a network slicing capability for existing LTE and 5G New Radio on non standalone networks, claiming it’s the first vendor to offer the capability. Nokia says it’s already been trialling the solution, which was developed with its telco partners, Telia Finland and A1 Telekom Austria. 

It says its slicing scheme will support links to public and private clouds and claims the first deployments will be made this summer.

Slicing, of course, is right at the heart of the 5G business case as it’s expected to enable mobile operators to offer services with corporate and business characteristics, such as guaranteed performance and service level agreements (SLAs). 

Nokia says the move will enable operators to start building their network slicing business today with their existing RANs and that the slicing capability can be deployed via a software upgrade for existing LTE and 5G non-standalone (NSA) networks and subsequently 5G standalone (SA) networks. 

The slicing continuity, it claims, between LTE and 5G NR allows operators to maximize their network coverage for new mobile connectivity services.

The fact that this slicing solution over LTE and 5G NSA can be initiated with a simple software upgrade on existing kit implies that it’s ‘slicing lite’ rather than the full fat solution we’ve been told could only be realised with network virtualisation. Which is fine as it will obviously provide training wheels for the budding digital service providers looking to get their sales teams into enterprises. 

Nokia says its trial use cases involve customers armed with a Software Defined Network (SDN) radio slice controller as well as a transport slice controller. “The trial includes a Nokia cloud packet core slice orchestrator to support network deployment automation as well as an SD-WAN software solution providing a managed 4G/5G network slice to private and public cloud services. Nokia assurance systems are used to verify per slice KPIs as a part of Nokia’s E2E service orchestration,” it claims.

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