Industry heavyweights Ericsson, Intel and Microsoft have teamed up to conduct the first ever end-to-end 5G standalone (SA) network slicing testing on a laptop.
According to the trio, the breakthrough highlights potential uses for 5G SA technology on devices beyond smartphones, “paving the way for new business opportunities for cellular-connected laptops”.
Powered by Intel processors and running on Windows 11 (OS), the interoperability development test (IoDT) was carried out at the Ericsson Lab in Sweden demonstrating multiple network slices on cellular-connected laptop devices. Network slicing is a form of virtual network architecture using the same principles behind software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) in fixed networks.
Ericsson said the use of 5G SA technology via laptops rather than smartphones would have particularly significant implications for gaming and collaboration applications. Expanded network slicing capabilities can support defining specific service level agreements per slice for existing and emerging Windows applications and use cases, such as real-time enterprise applications like Microsoft Teams and Office365, game/media streaming, and emerging AI and augmented reality/extended reality (AR/XR) applications.
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The market for network slicing alone in the enterprise segment is projected at USD 300 billion by 2025, according to the GSMA. By demonstrating a single Windows 11 device can make use of multiple slices, which are used according to the on-device usage profiles and network policies defined at the CSP level, the partners claimed it illustrated the opportunities for 5G monetization beyond smartphone devices and “opens the door to a wider 5G device ecosystem, allowing CSPs and other members of the telecoms and IT world to expand their horizons when considering opportunities to generate profitable use cases for 5G”.
Sibel Tombaz, head of 5G RAN at Ericsson, said: “Expanding the range of devices for network slicing to include laptops will allow new business segments to create a variety of use cases for consumers and enterprises.
“We have shown, together with Intel and Microsoft, how ecosystem collaboration can open new possibilities. We will continue to strengthen Ericsson’s network slicing capabilities and work with industry partners to enable more applications on several devices, spreading the benefits of 5G in the consumer and enterprise segments.”
The network slicing trial utilized User Equipment Route Selection Policy (URSP), the capability that enables devices to automatically select between different slices according to which application they are using.
It also used Ericsson’s Dynamic Network Slicing Selection, Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core, and Ericsson’s RAN Slicing capabilities to secure end-user service differentiation and deliver the required network capabilities for this solution.
Ian LeGrow, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Core OS Innovation added: “We are thrilled to showcase our cutting-edge technology and its ability to deliver fast, dependable and secure 5G connectivity on Windows 11. Partnering with Intel and Ericsson only further solidifies our commitment to innovation and openness in our platform.”
Author: Richard Hook