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Network Slicing

5G Network Slicing_040319A
[5G Network Slicing, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)]


Network Slicing, a Key Technology for 5G

Network slicing is a type of virtual networking architecture in the same family as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) - two closely related network virtualization technologies that are moving modern networks toward software-based automation. SDN and NFV allow far better network flexibility through the partitioning of network architectures into virtual elements. In essence, network slicing allows the creation of multiple virtual networks atop a shared physical infrastructure.

5G network slicing will allow telecommunication operators to split a single physical network into multiple virtual networks. With network slicing technology, a single physical network can be partitioned into multiple virtual networks allowing the operator to offer optimal support for different types of services for different types of customer segments. Network slicing can support customized connectivity designed to benefit many industries by offering a smarter way to segment the network to support particular services or business segments. With this technology, slices can be optimized by myriad characteristics including latency or bandwidth requirements. 
The key benefit of network slicing technology is it enables operators to provide networks on an as-a-service basis, which enhances operational efficiency while reducing time-to-market for new services. For example. network slicing technology can provide connectivity for smart meters with a network slice that connects “Internet of Things (IoT)” devices with a high availability and high reliability data-only service, with a given latency, data rate and security level. At the same time, the technology can provide another network slice with very high throughput, high data speeds and low latency for an augmented reality (AR) service.  Each use case receives a unique set of optimized resources and network topology - covering certain SLA-specified factors such as connectivity, speed, and capacity - that suit the needs of that application.
The new era of 5G connectivity will be characterized by its wide diversity of use cases and their varied requirements in terms of power, bandwidth, and speed. The greater elasticity brought about by network slicing will help to address the cost, efficiency, and flexibility requirements imposed by future.

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