5G's Most Important Advantage Is Not Speed, But Slicing Support

When discussing the strengths of new 5G networks, the most emphasis is usually on unprecedented data rates, symbolic latency values, and optimizations for the Internet of Things. However, according to Paul Challoner, vice president of network solutions for Ericsson in North America, the most valuable quality is the little-known "network slicing". This is the ability to programmatically divide the common network space into segments with certain properties for the needs of consumers.

For example, if a network connection is ordered by a factory with an automatic conveyor, then the main requirement will be the minimum ping, so that the robots on the assembly line do not stand idle for a fraction of a second, they constantly work and make a profit. For the hospital, ping is secondary, but they need the most stable communication channel. With such a bandwidth that it was possible to organize a video conference from the operating room and carry out procedures under the supervision of dozens of doctors from different countries in real time. And in a youth cafe, no one is particularly interested in the speed and stability of the connection - here you need the minimum cost of the service and unlimited traffic.

With the current approach, a separate line is designed and built for both the plant and the hospital, as customers with non-standard requests. But with the introduction of 5G, everything will change, and it will be possible to programmatically select connection channels with the necessary parameters within one network. And reconfiguring them as needed - this is slicing, the main competitive advantage of 5G.

It will probably take 1-2 years to realize and master the full potential of slicing, and the start is scheduled for 2020. However, it should be understood that the absence of physically dedicated, closed communication channels will raise the security issues of data transmission, so it is difficult to predict what this will lead to.