Smart Communications has successfully deployed a fully functional, end-to-end network slicing Proof of Concept (PoC) on its 5G Stand Alone (SA) network. The PoC was completed at the PLDT-Smart Technology Laboratory (Technolab) in Makati City this month.
This development is the latest milestone in PLDT and Smart’s foray into network slicing over the last two years.
The end-to-end Network Slicing system at the Technolab is composed of slicing functions from each part of the network — Access, Transport, and Core. This is a first in the Philippines, as PLDT and Smart join the first few global operators who have implemented 5G standard network slicing with “Slice Controller” for each part of the network.
In the said PoC, Smart successfully demonstrated that a “slice” could allocate and reserve resources within the network for specific services and customers. This means that Smart’s network is capable of offering differentiated services via these network slices, delivering quality of service that is tailor-fit to the needs of businesses and consumers.
Aside from potentially offering premium services with assured bandwidth and latency, this technology could also allow companies to tap a “slice” in PLDT and Smart’s network to serve as their own private network, providing them with fiber-like service over 5G, as well as enable subscribers themselves to “slice” the network according to their own needs.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for us to develop new capabilities that will enable us to offer differentiated services or services with varying levels of quality. This means we can partition the network for specific purposes. For example, we will be able to support drone services (high bandwidth and low delay), Massive IoT (low bandwidth and could be non-delay sensitive), eHealth or remote surgery (high bandwidth and sensitive to delay) in the near future, and more, in our common infrastructure. Without slicing, we would need to build different networks for each of these services. Slicing is an enabler for us. We have tested it in our Lab and we have proven that it works. This will give way to more innovative services,” said Arvin Siena, VP/Head of Technology Strategy and Transformation Office in Smart.
Network slicing, a key promise of 5G technology, will also enable the automation of vertical industries such as manufacturing, automotive, and utilities, and make them compliant to Industry 4.0, and later to 5.0, as well as provide a better experience to individual consumers, especially for today’s bandwidth-heavy and video-intensive digital lifestyle.
With this, PLDT and Smart join European and Asian operators, which are looking into network slicing as part of their 5G upgrades and offerings. As a technology leader, Smart leads 5G development in the country, with its extensive End-to-End network slicing initiatives.