Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson have demonstrated a world-first implementation of 5G end-to-end (E2E) enterprise network slicing combining network exposure capabilities for slice-specific service. 5G Network exposure facilitates secure third-party access to exposed capabilities in a 5G network.
By integrating network exposure into a service API on the network and application side, the quality of service provided in a 5G network slice is dynamically adapted to the performance requirements of the application.
In the proof-of-concept on 5G Standalone (SA) end-to-end network slicing infrastructure in Deutsche Telekom’s Bonn lab, the partners validated this capability in a video production use case allowing a video director to adapt their slice service on-demand according to the requirements of different video streams. Fully automated configuration, provisioning and end-to-end orchestration of the enterprise slicing service order was also realized in the proof of concept using a commercial grade 5G SA network provided by Ericsson.
“The groundbreaking integration of network exposure capability into 5G network slicing lays a technical foundation for 5G service innovation,” says Alex Choi, SVP Technology Strategy & Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “Working with partners like Ericsson, we will continue to explore 5G Standalone’s potential as we seek to build a flexible platform-based ecosystem with customer centric network-as-a-service models.”
Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson says: “New digital services will become reality because 5G network slicing makes it possible to create fit-for-purpose software defined virtual networks with defined characteristics. Standardized network exposure APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) provide mechanisms which allow third-party authorized applications to monitor and adjust the behavior of such “slices” within the boundaries of their subscribed services. We are very proud to closely collaborate with Deutsche Telekom as one of the globally leading operators, to bring the value of network slicing, exposure, and automation to the market.”
Networks Slicing with Network Exposure
Network Slicing is a key architectural feature in 5G Standalone that enables multiple virtual networks to be created on a single physical network infrastructure. Different service characteristics and quality parameters can then be provided to each ‘slice’ adapted to customer needs and with full isolation between slices. These technical enablers will support operators to develop new differentiated services and business models.
The Network Exposure Function (NEF) in 5G provides the ability to convert network capabilities and network APIs into special service APIs tailored for specific use cases and associated applications. The service API can make specific network capabilities discoverable and available at the application level as part of a network slice. With this flexibility customers can benefit from a superior experience, or partners get the opportunity to build innovative applications on top.
In this proof of concept, a quality of service (QoS) API enables an application to request a better service class in the network slice to serve its performance requirements. The benefits are demonstrated in an exemplary video production use case, where a director selects via a portal application between multi-camera streams in low and high resolution for a broadcast.
The director is served by a dedicated ‘video production’ slice. When the director selects a high-resolution stream, the application automatically requests a higher QoS class via the API in the ’video production’ slice. After receiving a confirmation from the network, the application switches the streaming quality from low to high, thus allocating sufficient network resources to ensure an uninterrupted high-quality video link even in congested network conditions.
BSS Integration and E2E slice service orchestration
Providing an end-to-end customer journey around slicing is essential for fast and efficient 5G service innovation. Business Support Systems (BSS) support is required to enable automated slice and user profile provisioning through E2E slice service orchestration. In this proof of concept, a catalogue-/model driven BSS approach was verified to enable:
Automated slice creation and termination with flexible service configuration to support B2B and B2B2X models
Exposure of connectivity management and monitoring functions to the customer via portals and APIs