5G Network slicing|Sasken

  Oct 18, 2023 2:36:42 PM

In the era of 5G, wireless communication isn't just about speed; it's orchestrating a profound transformation of our lives.

The introduction of 5G technology has ushered in an array of novel and revolutionary advancements that are shaping the trajectory of wireless communications.

These encompass the cloud-native adoption of RAN and Core components, the shift towards Service-Based Architecture (SBA) signifying a transition to a cloud-based Core Network, deployment models of Stand Alone (SA) and Non Stand Alone (NSA) for 5G networks, the emergence of Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), the implementation of Network Function Virtualization (NFV), the integration of Software Defined Networks (SDN) in transport, the concept of Network Slicing, and various other transformative innovations.

This blog will delve into Network Slicing feature, unique to 5G.

Let’s unravel its profound impact and discuss the recent industry strides.

What is Network Slicing?

Network slicing is a fundamental concept within 5G technology that enables the creation of multiple virtual networks on a shared physical infrastructure.

Each of these virtual networks, known as "slices," is designed to meet specific performance, capacity, and functionality requirements tailored to different use cases, applications, or industries.

This approach allows network operators to provide diverse services with varying characteristics over a single underlying 5G network.

Simply put, Network Slicing refers to carving out a section of cell capacity for different use cases/services which have different characteristics viz,

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband(eMBB),
  • Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications-URLCC,
  • Massive Machine Type Communications-mMTC.

An eMBB user might require very high throughputs and hence user should be allocated network resources to support high throughputs.

However, a URLCC user is likely to require low latency and the user should be allocated network resources which support low latency.

Network slicing spans Radio Access Networks (RAN), Transport & Core Network and it relies on virtualization technologies such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN).

These technologies allow dynamic allocation, scaling, and management of network resources.

Network operators can use service orchestration platforms to create, manage, and monitor network slices. These platforms automate the provisioning and deployment of slices based on the requirements of each use case.


Robust implementation mechanism is required to mitigate the security risks associated with slicing.


What is ETSI OpenSlice?

Earlier this year, ETSI, the European industry body well known for its industry specifications groups (ISGs), announced plans to form software development groups (SDGs) to “adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of technology and standards development.”

Well, the first SDG is here, and it’s called OpenSlice.

“With this group, ETSI positions itself as a focal point for development and experimentation with network slicing,” noted the industry body in this announcement.

“OpenSlice is creating an open-source, service-based operations support system (OSS) to deliver network slice-as-a-service (NSaaS) in alignment with specifications from leading standards development organisations, including 3GPP, TM Forum, and GSMA,” it added.

Real-world Deployment of Mobile Network Operators (MNO)

With Mobile Network Operators (MNO) transitioning to 5G Standalone (SA) deployments, Network Slicing is gaining traction.

MNO Deployment in Australia

Australian MNO Telstra has started to roll out connected construction sites in Aussie countryside that use 5G SA and network slicing. The MNO said that 5G allowed a site to be up and running “months sooner” than a fiber system.

“The service qualified site needed a 20Mbps committed upload link for its CCTV cameras to protect the site. Likewise for its general data connection, the site needed a committed 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload link,” Telstra said.

“Before 5G Standalone enabled network slicing, it would be impossible to commit to such a connection with so many variables on a cell network. However, for this site, we were able to reserve slices for the construction site’s devices from our 5G network in the area,”

MNO Deployment in the UK

Vodafone UK used 5G network slicing for the broadcast of the coronation of King Charles III at London’s Westminster Abbey on 6th May 2023.

Vodafone said it’s the first time any U.K. operator has provided a slice of its public 5G standalone (SA) network for a major broadcast event in the country.


As technology enthusiasts and industry leaders, you understand the pivotal role that network slicing plays in the 5G era. It is a technology that promises to redefine the way we experience connectivity, and with ETSI OpenSlice and real-world deployments, its potential is becoming increasingly evident.

Sasken with its rich experience in wireless telecom is pivotal in providing development & commercialization support for cloud native deployment of 4G/5G network for a Japanese Tier-1 MNO.


NFV – Virtualizes & abstracts network functions allowing them to run as virtualized instances or Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) on commodity servers. NFV enables the dynamic allocation of virtualized network functions to different network slices.

SDN – Traditional Networking devices (Switches, Routers) were configured using routing protocols that did not allow fine-grained control. SDN decouples control & data plane making it easier to configure, monitor, and adapt the network to changing needs (say, prioritize forwarding of URLCC packets to eMBB packets)


Posted by:
Senthil Kumar Subramani
Senthil has significant experience in wireless (3G, 4G, 5G NR) and cloud technologies and held leadership roles in pre/post-sales, engineering, and product management. He has worked in notable companies such as Intel (Munich), Qualcomm (UK), Sony Mobile (Sweden), Airspan Communications (UK), and Three UK. Senthil started his wireless career at Sasken, where he worked on 3G Access Stratum Protocol stack development and collaborated with NXP, France in delivering solutions to Samsung. He then spent nearly 8 years at Qualcomm UK in the Customer Engineering division, commercializing Snapdragon chipsets for Tier-1 OEMs in Europe. Later, he gained experience in Radio Access Network (RAN), small cells, and Android while working at Airspan Communications and Three UK. He is a member of Development Co-ordination Committee(DCC), Standards preparation for telecom equipment, TEC, Department of Telecommunications, India. Additionally, Senthil is an active blogger.

Want To Know More About This Topic?

You might also like