The next generation of wireless networks, 5G, enables network slicing, bringing many new opportunities for mobile operators, enterprises, and consumers. So what exactly is network slicing? How does it work? And what are some of the potential benefits and use cases? Table of contents5G Network Slicing ExplainedHow Does 5G Network Slicing Work?Benefits of 5G Network SlicingWhy is 5G Network Slicing Important?Risks and ChallengesUse Cases for 5G Network Slicing 5G Network Slicing Explained In short, network slicing is a technique that allows for the virtualization of a physical network. This means that a single network infrastructure can be divided into multiple logical networks, each with its performance characteristics and service-level agreements (SLAs). Each network slice can flexibly define its logical topology, SLA specifications, reliability, and security level to fulfill the various needs of various services, businesses, or consumers. As a result, businesses may support various application needs for security, dependability, and performance on the same network. For example, one slice might be optimized for latency-sensitive gaming or virtual reality applications. At the same time, another might be configured for high-bandwidth applications such as video streaming or cloud computing. In addition to offering extremely flexible network services that may be planned and provided on demand based on service requirements, network slicing enables carriers to lower the cost of building several private networks. This enhances carriers' capacity to monetize their networks and supports the digital revolution of numerous businesses. How Does 5G Network Slicing Work? Network slicing is made possible by advanced software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies. Using SDN and NFV, it is possible to allocate resources dynamically and configure network policies on a per-slice basis. Network slice isolation ensures that services in various network slices do not interfere with one another by preventing service bursts or unusual traffic in one slice from impacting other slices in the same network. Network slicing builds many networks or slices across a single shared network using virtualization technology. Each slice contains unique latency, throughput, security, and bandwidth characteristics. This allows each slice to be optimized for specific use cases and performance requirements. For example, a low-latency slice might be given priority access to resources, while a high-bandwidth slice might be configured to use more robust error correction algorithms. In praxis, this means that a network slice used to monitor an Internet of Things (IoT) device would differ from one supporting high-definition streaming video. This is the main difference compared to non-sliced networks, where devices have access to more resources than they actually need. Network slicing protects resources by comprehending each application's context and use case and assigning the proper quantity of resources. Benefits of 5G Network Slicing Resource and security separation, deterministic latency, flexible topology connection modification, and automated slice administration are the four key network slice benefits. Network operators can benefit from 5G network slicing by being able to deploy only the features required to serve specific consumers and market niches. Compared to having to deploy the full capability to support devices that will only use a portion of that functionality, it directly results in savings. Another derived benefit is the potential to install 5G systems more quickly due to the need to deploy fewer functionalities and enable a quicker time-to-market. Some of the other 5G network slicing benefits are: Depending on the needs of the user and different use cases, a single network can be used to provide a variety of services. Network operators can allocate the correct number of required resources per network slice, which helps effectively and efficiently utilize resources. It helps reduce expenses (OPEX) and capital expenditure (CAPEX) Delivering 5G network services significantly reduces time to market and increases operational effectiveness. It overcomes all the drawbacks of Differentiated services (DiffServ) For mobile operators, network slicing provides a way to monetize their investment in 5G by offering different tiers of service with different SLAs. For customers, network slicing provides an easy way to select the ideal mix of performance characteristics for their specific needs. And because slices can be dynamically created and destroyed as needed, customers only pay for the capacity they actually use. Why is 5G Network Slicing Important? Communications service providers (CSPs) may provide the precise services they require for each customer thanks to network slicing, which is becoming essential for telecom operators. CSPs may supply precisely what each customer needs and nothing more, allowing them to operate more effectively and boost their profits.This is in contrast to giving all customers access to a feature-rich network with every functionality imaginable. In addition to offering extremely flexible network services that may be planned and provided on demand based on service requirements, network slicing enables carriers to lower the cost of building several private networks. This enhances carriers' capacity to monetize their 5G networks and supports the digital revolution of numerous businesses. With network slicing, carriers can create numerously segregated, virtualized, and specialized logical networks on top of a broad physical network to satisfy the various network requirements of multiple clients. Risks and Challenges A few challenges must be addressed before slicing becomes entirely marketed in the telecommunication industry. The increasing complexity of 5G network slicing is one of the main obstacles. Some ecosystem restrictions include an underdeveloped market for multi-slice supported terminals, a COVID-19-related delay in corporate investment, and a lack of slicing standards. Telco networks are now run using Operations & Maintenance (O&M) practices that are decades old and make it difficult to quickly and successfully launch new services. Furthermore, the current state of CSPs' capacity to develop automated and programmatic slicing capability spanning the access, transport, and core domains involving installations with numerous suppliers is still being determined. Use Cases for 5G Network Slicing Network slicing can be used in various scenarios, both by mobile operators and enterprises. For example, a mobile operator might offer a low-latency slice for gaming and virtual reality applications or a high-throughput slice for 4K video streaming. Alternatively, an enterprise might use slices for different departments or even individual users within the organization\u2014for example, giving priority access to resources for mission-critical applications or employees who work in remote locations with spotty connectivity. For more information on 5G use cases, read our "Ultimate Guide to 5G Monetization for Telcos!" Conclusion 5G promises to bring a new era of wireless connectivity, and network slicing will be one of the key benefits of 5G technology. By allowing for the virtualization of physical networks, network slicing provides a way for both mobile operators and enterprises to tailor their networks for specific use cases and requirements. So if you're planning on deploying 5G in your organization, ensure you understand how network slicing works and how it can benefit you.