Years after 5G network slicing was hyped to the sky (see References below dating from 2028), BT Group, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. have successfully demonstrated end-to-end consumer and enterprise 5G differentiated connectivity enabled by 5G network slicing on Ericsson’s 5G Core and Radio Access Network technology in the UK with devices powered by the Snapdragon ® 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy Mobile Platform.
The trial, which took place at Adastral Park, BT Group’s home of research and innovation, established network slices for Gaming, Enterprise and Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), and showed how, by allocating a portion of the 5G SA network to provide dynamic partitions for specific use-cases, optimal performance can be maintained for bandwidth-heavy activities including mobile gaming and video conferencing even during peak times.
Mobile gaming is experiencing relentless growth, with traffic on EE’s network almost doubling since the beginning of 2023 to more than two petabytes of data every month. With consistent low-latency, jitter-free and immersive experiences increasingly essential to the gaming experience, network slicing is expected to be a key enabler of performance and growth in the 5G SA era.
Together, BT Group, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies demonstrated an optimal mobile cloud gaming experience on Nvidia’s GeForce Now, maintaining a throughput comfortably in excess of the recommended 25 Mbps at 1080p even when a background load was generated. The companies initiated a gaming session on Fortnite using the Samsung S23 Ultra device, equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy Mobile Platform, and Ericsson implemented Network slicing along with the Ericsson RAN feature Radio Resource Partitioning on EE’s Network to achieve a smooth experience. The experience was simultaneously compared to a non-optimised eMBB RAN partition, which was congested by the background load, resulting in a less than optimal gaming experience.
The trial also validated the potential of network slicing for BT Group’s business customers. Using the enterprise and eMBB slices, configured via URSP rules which enables a device to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously depending on the application, it demonstrated consistent 4K video streaming and enterprise use-cases using the Samsung S23 Ultra device, powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. Enterprise communications platforms and video applications such as YouTube require a stable connection and low jitter to work well. The Ericsson 5G RAN Slicing feature, Radio Resource Partitioning, was enabled to ensure the enterprise traffic to achieve an optimal experience.
5G network slicing requires a 5G SA core network. It supports these diverse services and reassigns resources as needed from one virtual network slice to another, making the one-size-fits-all approach to service delivery obsolete.
Image courtesy of Viavi
Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer, BT Group, said: “Network slicing will enable us to deliver new and improved capabilities for customers in the 5G SA era. As we work diligently towards the launch of our own 5G SA network, today’s successful demonstration of how slicing enables us to differentiate Quality of Service to guarantee performance for different segments is a significant milestone, and illustrative of the new services that will be enabled by 5G SA.”
Enrico Salvatori, Senior Vice President and President, Qualcomm Europe/MEA of Qualcomm Europe, Inc., said: “We are proud to collaborate with BT Group and Ericsson on the network slicing trial, which used a device powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy mobile platform. Together, we showcased the enhanced performance and flexibility 5G Standalone capabilities, such as network slicing, will bring to consumers and enterprise experiences.”
Katherine Ainley, CEO, Ericsson UK & Ireland, said: “5G standalone and network slicing demonstrates that leading operators like EE will be able to offer customers tailored connectivity with different requirements on speed, latency and reliability for specific applications, such as video streaming and gaming. This ultimate next step in connectivity will enable new service offerings for consumers and businesses who require premium performance, while helping to drive future market growth and innovation for the UK in a wide range of new industries.”
Ericsson and Nokia demonstrate 5G Network Slicing on Google Pixel 6 Pro phones running Android 13 mobile OS
Network Slicing and 5G: Why it’s important, ITU-T SG 13 work, related IEEE ComSoc paper abstracts/overviews