Network slicing is the most important feature of 5G Standalone mode, Professor Tao Sun from the China Mobile Research Institute has stated.
Sun was speaking at GSMA Thrive, at a session on the 5G Standalone standard hosted by ZTE on 1 July 2020.
He explained that network slicing is a framework to provide services tailored to specific customer needs. Sun likened it to how cloud infrastructure providers offer customers differentiated services on their platforms.
True power of 5G yet to be unlocked
Hans Neff, the director of ZTE CTO Group, said that ZTE is proud to have started experimenting with the concept of end-to-end slicing very early in the development of 5G.
He said that 5G has been a buzzword that has been used for several years to talk about a revolution that is coming to mobile telecommunications. Networks would have to be built differently, and opportunities for new business models would emerge.
However, early 5G deployments have not really delivered on that promise.
This is because the full potential of 5G will only be realised with the adoption of 5G Standalone mode, or 5G SA.
Current 5G deployments all rely on Non-Standalone configurations of 5G (5G NSA), which are built on top of a network core designed for 4G networks.
5G SA will launch in China during the second half of 2020, which will help drive adoption of the technology.
Once more networks upgrade to or roll out in Standalone mode, the full potential of 5G will be realised, Neff stated.
“New service offers such as guaranteed speeds and latency, availability, density, security, security, and location will be realised,” said Neff.
In addition to network slicing, Neff explained that 5G SA includes security enhancements which are baked right into the DNA of the standard.
Neff, along with several other speakers, stated that the 5G SA ecosystem is ready for deployment at scale.
Leping Wei, the chair of the technology steering advisory committee at China Telecom said that they have been working with ZTE to develop dual-mode devices that can take advantage of Non-Standalone or Standalone 5G network configurations.
Around 130 5G terminals have been developed and China’s output alone during 2020 will be 60 million units.
“We have developed a rather mature ecosystem,” Wei said.