Ericsson and industry partners Intel and Microsoft have raised the bar on network slicing by successfully demonstrating end-to-end 5G standalone network slicing capabilities on a Windows laptop. This pioneering trial demonstrates the applicability of the technology on devices beyond smartphones, paving the way for new business opportunities for cellular-connected laptops.Powered by Intel processors and running on Windows 11 (OS), the interoperability development testing (IoDT) carried out recently at the Ericsson Lab in Sweden showed the use of multiple network slices on cellular-connected laptop devices for consumer and enterprise use cases such as mobile gaming and collaboration applications.
The network slicing trial utilized User Equipment Route Selection Policy, the capability that enables devices to automatically select between different slices according to which application they are using. It also used Ericsson’s Dynamic Network Slicing Selection, Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core and Ericsson’s RAN Slicing capabilities to secure end-user service differentiation. Together they deliver the required network capabilities for this solution.
Network slicing has long been seen as vital to capturing the value that a 5G network can provide for communications service providers (CSPs) and enterprises. The market for network slicing alone in the enterprise segment is projected at USD 300 billion by 2025, according to the GSMA. By demonstrating a single Windows 11 device can make use of multiple slices, which are used according to the on-device usage profiles and network policies defined at the CSP level, the partners show the flexibility and range of potential use cases available using this technology.
This trial illustrates the opportunities for 5G monetization beyond smartphone devices and opens the door to a wider 5G device ecosystem, allowing CSPs and other members of the telecoms and IT world to expand their horizons when considering opportunities to generate profitable use cases for 5G. Laptop type devices, in particular, are vital to enterprise productivity. The inclusion of Windows 11 laptops in the ranks of devices that can be used for commercializing 5G network slicing is a sign of the ecosystem maturing. Network slicing capabilities will benefit consumer and enterprise segments by defining specific Service Level Agreement per slice for existing and emerging Windows applications and use cases, such as real-time enterprise applications like Microsoft Teams and Office365, game/media streaming and emerging AI and augmented reality/extended reality applications.
Sibel Tombaz, head of product line 5G RAN at Ericsson, said, “Expanding the range of devices for network slicing to include laptops will allow new business segments to create a variety of use cases for consumer and enterprises. We have shown, together with Intel and Microsoft, how ecosystem collaboration can open new possibilities. We will continue to strengthen Ericsson’s network slicing capabilities and work with industry partners to enable more applications on several devices, spreading the benefits of 5G in the consumer and enterprise segments.”
Ian LeGrow, Microsoft Corporate vice-president of core OS Innovation said, “We are thrilled to showcase our cutting-edge technology and its ability to deliver fast, dependable and secure 5G connectivity on Windows 11. Partnering with Intel and Ericsson only further solidifies our commitment to innovation and openness in our platform.”
This network slicing demo will be showcased jointly with Intel and Microsoft in the Ericsson Hall during MWC Barcelona 2023 from February 27 to March 2.