SoftBank Corp. has announced it has successfully completed automated 5G network slicing over 5G mobile networks and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) applications.
To make an end-to-end (E2E) network slice from a 5G mobile user to a MEC application, Segment Routing IPv6 Mobile User Plane (SRv6 MUP), pioneered by SoftBank, and SRv6 Flex-Algo were used for robustness and flexibility.
SoftBank also verified SRv6 MUP interoperability with 5G equipment at its laboratory. This trial, which started this year, will now proceed to the next step, which is to prepare SRv6 MUP technology for commercial deployment.
SoftBank will continue to proceed with development and verification steps for SRv6 MUP, which it says is highly cost-efficient and flexible for automated network slicing and MEC applications.
The company will showcase this 5G network slicing system at TM Forum Digital Transformation World (DTW) 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 20 to 22.
As part of the TM Forum Catalyst project, “Modernizing 5G Service Delivery,” this demo system will show automated MEC application stitching to a 5G network slice. In this trial, SRv6 MUP and an SRv6 Flex-Algo capable network OS from Arrcus, Inc. will be deployed in a virtual laboratory for the demonstration.
The MEC applications will also be deployed through Elisa Corporation's automation solution and seamlessly integrated to complete an E2E 5G network slicing system extended to MEC applications.
Outline of the Automated Network Slicing Between 5G and MEC
In existing mobile cellular networks, additional protocol layers and complex configurations in 5G mobile core and IP transport are necessary to set up a network slice and realize flexible traffic control. Furthermore, expansion of 5G equipment is necessary to extend a slice to a MEC location, which leads to increased cost.
Through this demonstration, SoftBank will show that SRv6 MUP with SRv6 Flex-Algo can extend a 5G network slice that consists of a 5G core slice and an IP network slice to MEC applications but without the necessity of adding more 5G equipment and seamlessly automate this otherwise complex E2E process. By utilizing such simplified means of network slicing, an operator can expect a much shorter time to market (TTM) of network slicing and MEC commercial services, but with reduced operational complexity.
SoftBank said it will continue pursuing further improvement and cost efficiency in delivering network services by using cutting-edge technologies like SRv6 MUP and SRv6 Flex-Algo. It added that it will cooperate with TM Forum to ensure full utilization of 5G's potential across the industry.