Huawei and BT apply slicing to emergency networks

UK telco BT has been working closely with Huawei on various aspects of 5G, none more important that a project on slicing which they announced late last year. Now they have shared some early results of that cooperation, focusing on the use of slicing to make temporary and emergency connections in an almost instantaneous way.

Slicing is one of the most commercially significant ways in which 5G will move on from 4G, and support new revenue models for MNOs and new entrants. It will allow a virtualized network to allocate a ‘slice’ of network capacity for an enterprise or service provider, on-demand and optimized for their particular requirements (such as high security or very low power, for instance). Or applications like video streaming could be assigned to a particular slice, to obtain the best network conditions and to avoid interfering with other traffic.

Now BT and its vendor partner are talking about another aspect of slicing, for very short term networks. A dedicated slice could be spun up by the slice manager, they say, in almost immediate response to an emergency. They have demonstrated this capability in BT’s labs in Adastral Park in eastern England, and will now be carrying out further tests to confirm their findings.

Howard Watson, CEO of technology, service and operations at BT, said: “We’re excited about the possibilities of this stream of research with Huawei, and the added flexibility network slicing may offer, allowing us to better serve specific customer needs as we move towards a 5G world.”

Yang Chaobin, president of Huawei’s 5G product line, added: “There are two different ways to realize the digitalization of society. The first one is to have dedicated infrastructure for different requirements; the second one is to have a common infrastructure serving different vertical industries. I believe the latter, which uses network slicing, will be critical to effective delivery of services and improved efficiency.”

This research will be showcased this week on Huawei’s stand at Mobile World Congress, and there is an animated demonstration at