Broadcast, production set to profit from Vodafone on-demand 5G network slice | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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Use cases such as remote broadcast and production, especially where the quality of live-stream content could be impacted by network upload speed, could see a huge boost from the fruits of a partnership between Vodafone and Ericsson.
Vodafone 5g video 15Sep2021
The two firms say that they have successfully completed the country’s first 5G standalone (SA) network slicing trial, offering providers the ability to deliver dedicated on-demand and secure end-to-end connectivity with guaranteed quality of service. Using a radio access network (RAN) slicing function, the two firms’ technology teams worked provide the low latency and high bandwidth required for a virtual reality use case in a retail store. The slice created guaranteed a download speed of 260Mbps and latency of 12.4 milliseconds.

The trial made use of an Ericsson-built 5G Standalone containerised core architecture and end-to-end automated orchestrated solution, including 5G RAN slicing, Vodafone was able to create a premium virtual reality network slice experience.

Vodafone and Ericsson noted that that a network slice can be customised to several different variables, including geographical location of slice for example a single office location or nationwide; download and upload speeds with defined minimum thresholds; latency with maximum threshold; capacity based on device connection density in specific areas; and security, with enhanced cybersecurity features.

Looking as to where on-demand slicing could see use, the firms pointed to mass entertainment events where there was a risk of network congestion. A dedicated network slice for broadcasters would be one of the few options available to guarantee data is transferred back to production studios in a timely manner, especially in temporary venues such as music festivals. Network performance could be upgraded for short periods of time, for example, increasing download speeds to access video content ahead of plane trip.

Another potential use case involved the connectivity experience for customers at entertainment venues which can be a frustrating because of the high concentration of people in a small area. However, said the two companies, as demand at these venues is not 24/7, it could make more commercial sense to deploy a high-bandwidth and high-capacity network slice to ensure customers at mass attendance events have suitable connectivity coverage.

Commenting on the significance of the announcement, Matthew O’Neill, head of networks at global IT services provider NTT DATA UK, regarded the trial as an important step towards the broader provision of 5G network slicing, which he said would transform the UK’s network capabilities, supporting new and innovative use cases, and facilitating digital transformation across various industries. “This is a big step forward for carriers, as network slicing reduces the cost of constructing multiple private networks while enabling them to provide highly flexible services which can be allocated on demand, based on service requirements. This improves the network value as well as the monetisation capability of carriers,” he said.

“Businesses stand to benefit from the reliability, low latency and high bandwidth provided by networking slicing, which will enable them to deliver high-end experiences for their customers. While this initial trial has been used to augment VR use cases, it will be exciting to see other use cases put into practice. The low latency functionality and the reliability provided by network slicing will play a vital role in enabling the Internet of Things, accelerating the rise of smart cities and building a more connected society.”