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Network slicing is a common phrase in the telecommunications industry. It refers to a type of configuration that you can use to introduce several networks. These systems can be independent or virtualized, depending on your needs.

It’s worth noting that 5G network slicing is done with your physical infrastructure as a basis. We allocate each part of the network based on the customer’s or app’s particular needs. With this model, we introduce various services for our business and move resources per requirements from one network segment to another.

5 G network slicing is far superior to traditional methods and provides vast utility to users.

Challenges and Opportunities of Slicing

Organizations that are using 5G core technology have shown increased interest in the slicing concept. Unfortunately, using this technology is much more challenging than some people realize. Here are a few things companies have to deal with when implementing 5G network slicing:

  • The best thing about this method is that you can designate resources for each separate slice. That way, you produce latency, throughput, and speed required to cover the 5G network slicing.
  • Businesses offer slices as a service. By doing so, they’re able to minimize their capital expenditures and expenses.
  • Another interesting thing about slices is that you can deploy them almost immediately. This allows organizations to set up various events that require network support.
  • Depending on the situation, providers can prioritize certain clients. For example, they can provide connectivity and coverage to first-responder teams during times of emergency.

What Are the Benefits of Network Slicing?

For the most part, we can benefit from security and resource isolation, automated slice management, flexible topology connection customization, and deterministic latency.

  • Resource Isolation

When it comes to quality of service, the main benefit of 5G network slicing isolation lies in its ability to prevent abnormal traffic or service burst. With this technology, you can protect other slices, isolating them from potential issues. This features shines for services like smart port, smart healthcare, and smart grid.

If users are not going to access any information, then security isolation come into play, introducing protection between slices. Besides services, you are also able to isolate resources, and O&M.

  • Automated Slice Management

As the number of scales and service types increases over time, it becomes harder and harder to manage networks. In many cases, companies rely on sophisticated solutions to automate this, otherwise complex process.

With 5G network slicing technology, employees can execute full management for all their slices. This includes processes such as service provisioning and user intent. The 5G network slicing is also vital for deployment, dynamic optimization, and it offers real-time visualization.

  • Flexible Topology Connection Customization

When it comes to traffic and services, they all stem from a single source. We use network slicing to create a more flexible and dynamic connections, where data moves in various directions.

By relying on this technology, we get customized connections and topologies for our networks. They encompass different services, industries, and users, all while fulfilling differentiated requirements. Users only have to concern themselves with the slice’s logical topology; they don’t have to know anything about the full topology of the basic network.

  • Deterministic Latency

Depending on the service, you might have to tackle different requirements for latency and bandwidth. The common services usually have requirements of E2E latency. In other words, they don’t exceed 100ms. However, this isn’t the case with industrial control and real-time interactive services, which require around 2ms latency.

Besides that, each network requires a committed and deterministic latency assurance. With slicing technology, we deploy services into different slices. This provides full assurance for control and interactive services.

Common Use Cases

While it might seem that 5G technology has unlimited applications, we can place all these use cases into three distinct groups:

  • Massive Machine Type Communication

Massive Machine Type Communication, or simply mMTC, allows transfer of data for stationary and mobile devices. As the name implies, you can use it for an enormous number of devices, as long as they have low data rates. With 5G, we allow functioning of machine-to-machine and IoT tech.

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband

The concept of eMBB refers to the transport of large quantities of data to support various services. We use it to cover a large area and support advanced services such as virtual reality on the go. Some of the key features of eMBB include scalable controls, mobility, and throughput.

  • Ultra-Reliable Mobile Broadband

With URLLC, we are able to control robotic surgeries, drones, and other precision work. URLLC is vital for machine processes that require high accuracy and low latency, ensuring that the executed processes go smoothly.

Besides these use cases, we also have other applications that combine all these elements. The best example of that is V2X or Vehicle-to-Everything, that has a broad application.

Slicing Security

Due to the complexity of this model, it’s something hard to ensure full security. In other words, each slice is treated as a separate entity, having its own requirements. You need to introduce separate device authentication and other protocols to ensure full protection of data.

As the technology presumes a high level of scaling, this means attackers can find billions of holes in the system. To make matters worse, a single successful attack that occurs within the central 5G network would allow hackers to gain access to various domains and slices at the same time.

Luckily, there are a few things that might help out:

  • The entity in charge has to establish roles and responsibilities between enterprises and operations.
  • As modern threats become more damaging, users have to adapt to this newfound situation. One of the potential solutions is introducing new security strategies that would address network gaps.
  • Relying on a security-as-a-service provider might also help out. These companies develop 5G network slicing solutions that would improve protection for all their clients.

We also suggest you get acquainted with the 5G guidance published by the US NSA (the National Security Agency). Here, you can learn more about confidentiality, zero-trust architecture, and NSSA leakage.