Deutsche Telekom and Huawei demo autonomous 5G network slicing

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Deutsche Telekom and Huawei have completed a trial to show for the first time how 5G network slices can be created automatically and in an optimised way, on shared radio access, core and transport networks.

The demo was conducted at Deutsche Telekom’s ‘5G:haus’ lab in Bonn, Germany.

Network slicing virtualises one physical network into several co-existing networks that can offer different types of services. It is considered a “foundational technology” for 5G services, said Deutsche Telekom.

Both telcos have previously demonstrated how the technology can be used to segment a 5G network to run a varied range of use cases on different network slices.

The new trial automated the slicing process, as well as the allocation of network resources, for the radio access network, data centre, and interconnecting transmission network.

Deutsche Telekom said creating slices took less than a minute and allocation of appropriate resources for each individual slice was in real time. 

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, Chief Technology Officer at Deutsche Telekom, said: “Network slicing is envisaged for 5G to provide differentiated connectivity quickly and efficiently for the diverse future applications that our customers will demand. With automated network slicing, the development of highly flexible end-to-end network slicing becomes more complete.”

Deutsche Telekom said 5G network slices will likely be allocated for both souped-up versions of traditional mobile broadband services, as well as the new generation of Internet of Things services, including massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable low-latency communications.

Operators will be able to use the technology to optimise and customise their products and services, and reduce network building costs, it said.

Deutsche Telekom’s partnership with Huawei has been productive in recent months. The pair hit speeds of 1.22GBps on the German operator’s live LTE network during a demo in September, using 4x4MIMO and five band carrier aggregation.

With Huawei’s help, Deutsche Telekom also beat Vodafone to the first commercial NB-IoT network anywhere in the world last month, after Huawei and Vodafone had developed the technology from scratch.