Network slicing benefits fixed-access networks, even though it's most commonly associated with 5G infrastructure.
The virtualization architecture adopts the same principles as software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). Network slicing enables operators to create multiple virtual networks atop a common, shared physical infrastructure that they then can customize to meet the specific requirements of services, customers, applications or devices.
The market for network slicing is predicted to reach $302.2 million by 2022 from $112.3 million 2017, galloping along at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 22%, according to a November 2017 MarketsandMarkets report.
"The major forces driving the growth of the network slicing market include the increasing demand for broadband services over mobile networks, virtualization of networks, significant growth in the mobile data traffic volumes and the rising demand for high-speed and large network coverage," the research firm wrote. "Moreover, the rising adoption rate of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices and agile networks are also expected to drive the market growth."
Tuck into a knowledge fest of SDN, NFV, network slicing and more on May 21 -- BBWF Digital Week Virtualization Day -- during Broadband World Forum Digital Week, a free digital event you can't afford to miss.
Network slicing helps operators meet service level agreements (SLAs), Brian Lavallée, senior director of Solutions Marketing at Ciena told Broadband World News. It also helps fixed-access wireline operators address capacity issues when designing networks: After all, if they deploy a network designed for peak usage, most of the time the network is under-used, he said. But if a service provider creates a network with its lowest usage times in mind, then peak hours or unforeseen usage demands around emergencies or other unexpected drivers can generate outages and unhappy customers, added Lavallée.
During Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, BT participated in ADVA Optical Networking's demonstration of end-to-end, multi-layer transport network slicing and assurance for 5G and edge computing.
"By showcasing an architecture for wholesale services that can be efficiently reconfigured across all network layers through SDN control, we're taking a big step forward," said Maria Cuevas, BT's head of mobile core network research in a statement at the time. "But this demonstration is really just the start of an intense period of research into network slicing."
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Vodafone, too, is testing out fixed-access network slicing, partnering with Huawei on a successful trial that virtually partitioned fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network bandwidth, the vendor said. Using network slicing and FTTH, Vodafone separately divided and controlled different slices of the bandwidth for services, to allow multiple uses within open access FTTH or other applications, according to Huawei.
Vodafone Ireland created consumer and enterprise virtual network slices on a live FTTH network; the consumer slice sent broadband Internet and Vodafone TV services, while the enterprise slice carried OneNet business services.
"Virtualization of the fixed access network will help us build and fill FTTH networks in a more cost-effective way that takes advantage of new operating models where both Vodafone and its deployment partners are able to differentiate their services over the shared fiber infrastructure," said Matt Beal, director of Strategy & Architecture for Vodafone Group Technology, in a statement.
The industry organization's major initiatives will address broadband differentiation based on quality of experience, global test labs for services, 5G, multi-access strategies and more, say CEO Robin Mersh and CMO Geoff Burke in an interview with BBWN.
Mike Zeto, GM of AT&T's Smart Cities division, expects metro areas to adopt platforms to manage multi-departmental IoT solutions once internal processes are aligned and more agencies are involved in smart city applications.
Fiber optic cable vendor Prysmian Group is now shipping its FlexRibbon Technology-based, US-sourced and made 6912 fiber MassLink Cable to service providers seeking densification for 5G or solutions for filled ducts.
Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!