What is Network Slicing?

What is Network Slicing? 5G Slicing / Network Slicing

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Network Slicing in 5G:

Think of a cake. A cake is made up of different layers, and each layer has a different flavor or filling. For example, the bottom layer might be chocolate, the middle layer might be vanilla, and the top layer might be strawberry.

Now, imagine that the cake represents a 5G network. Instead of layers of cake, the network is made up of different slices, and each slice has different capabilities and characteristics. For example, one slice might be designed for high-speed internet browsing, while another slice might be optimized for low-latency communication, such as controlling a self-driving car.

Network slicing allows the 5G network to be divided into different slices that can be customized for different applications and use cases. Each slice can be optimized for specific requirements, such as bandwidth, latency, and security, to provide the best possible performance for that use case.

Just like how each layer of a cake can have its own flavor and filling, each network slice can have its own unique features and capabilities. This allows the 5G network to be more flexible and adaptable, and better able to meet the diverse needs of different applications and industries.

Credits: :point_down:

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Network slicing enables instantiation of logical or virtual sections or partitions of a 5G network. All these logical sections or partitions run on a shared physical infrastructure. Each partition or section is referred to as a ‘slice’. A sliced network is a customized version of a 5G network. It is as if you are a customer who goes to a network provider or network slicer provider, and ask the provider a 5G network with capabilities that you desire to have. Some of the capabilities that you ask for may not be present in the traditional 5G public network directly.

So, purchasing a 5G network that has specific capabilities that you ask for, makes you a network slice customer (NSC). You are not buying the entire 5G network with its entire bandwidth. You are just asking for a portion/slice of it to be provided to you. Whatever features embedded on the network that you’ve asked for, are commonly referred to as a template. With the feature template, the network provider provides you the specific slice. The template is known as Network Slice Template (NEST).

Remember that it is still a virtual instance of a 5G network wherein the core network entities such as AMF, SMF, NRF, NWDAF etc. are running as microservices in Linux container, managed by Kubernetes. A network slice absolutely requires a RAN, and core network to operate.

The previous ‘cake’ example explained by an author, serves as a good starting point!