The prospect of a new generation of mobile networks offering higher upload and download speeds, as well as significantly improved latency, is certainly an exciting one to think about. While we still have some way to go before the fifth-generation wireless broadband technology (5G) sees commercial implementation, virtually all major players in the telecommunications industry are already conducting extensive research and testing to help turn that dream into reality as soon as possible. Most experts agree that commercial 5G is approximately four years away, but as standards bodies are still trying to figure out what this technology will exactly entail, telecommunications equipment manufacturers and wireless carriers are working out the logistics of a transition to 5G.
Speaking of which, the industry trade association 5G Americas has recently published a technical whitepaper pertaining to this subject. The paper, titled Network Slicing for 5G Networks and Services, explains how network slicing will be a crucial component of 5G networks optimization in the future. Network slicing is a relatively new term in the industry, and it refers to a concept that is similar to server farms. More specifically, this technique entails creating multiple versions of simultaneously running network functions on a single chip. In simpler terms, this approach advocates allocating a limited amount of resources for each technology generation. For example, a system which dedicates 20% of its resources to 2G traffic, 30% to 3G traffic, and leaves the rest for 4G traffic is a system which has been optimized using the said technique. The biggest advantage of this optimization approach is that it allows for a different, more efficient set of Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms to be applied. This is important because use cases for future 5G networks are likely going to be incredibly diverse, so allocating a minimum and maximum amount of resources for each and every one of them might be the smart thing to do. Of course, provided that these use cases and their approximate resource demands can be accurately predicted.
The idea was originally debuted by Ericsson back in 2013 and has been considered in the context of 5G technologies ever since then. In its paper, the said industry trade association is arguing how this is by far the most efficient approach to 5G transition as it ensures both "future-proof scalability and flexibility." That's the gist of it, but if you're interested in reading all the technical details, download the Network Slicing for 5G Networks and Services whitepaper by following the source link below.