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SK Telecom and Ericsson to Deploy Network Slicing Technology

July 27, 2015

Year in and year out, South Korea consistently ranks in the top three for Internet speeds around the world. Additionally, companies operating in the country also develop products to market faster than other telecoms globally. In June of 2015, GSMA welcomed the launch of the world’s first interconnected VoLTE service in South Korea, which will be delivering high quality calls that seamlessly switches between voice and video with faster connection speeds. This progress will continue, as a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between SK Telecom and Ericsson will develop a 5G core network to deploy network slicing technology.

When 5G systems come online, traffic volumes will be multiplied 1,000 times and there will be 100 times the number of devices. The connectivity is going to demand data rates 100 times the speeds average networks are capable of delivering today. According to Ericsson, this will require cloud technologies together with software-defined networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to improve network flexibility so vertical systems can be broken into building blocks.

Network slicing will break down 5G systems into a number of customizable software-defined functions that govern geographical coverage area, duration, capacity, speed, latency, robustness, security and availability. Operators will be able to adapt to changes and meet subscriber demands while meeting the requirements of emerging use cases.

The agreement between SK Telecom and Ericsson will continue to expand existing collaboration to create the world’s most advanced end-to-end 5G pilot services starting this year.

“Virtual network architecture, including network slicing, is critical to supporting new services in the era of 5G. We will build an optimal network for a wide array of services from the overall end-to-end standpoint, and pioneer the evolution of innovative networks,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO at SK Telecom.

Image via Shutterstock

Some of the new services that will be possible with 5G include, virtual reality, augmented reality, super multi-view video streaming, and holograms. Because the technology is able to deliver faster speeds, it can provide large amount of content in real-time with low latency. In addition to the high data services, the SK Telecom will also be deploying and monitoring millions of IoT devices.

To manage all of these different technologies, it will also need new generation data centers, and the company announced they intend to build the world’s first 5G ready Hyperscale Data Center System to meet this demand.

The company looks for this partnership to give it a heads up against its competitors in South Korea as the country moves full steam ahead to be the first nation with fully operational 5G network.

“Network slicing, based on virtual Evolved Packet Core, is an important part of the technology evolution of 5G, supporting operators with a new, broader set of services. We look forward to bringing 5G to life together with SK Telecom,” said Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO at Ericsson.

The Akamai First Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet Report had South Korea at number one for global average connection speeds at 23.6 Mbps. The wireless network tracking service OpenSignal had the country at number two for the fastest 4G LTE networks in the world with download speeds of 17 Mbps, second to Spain, which had 18 Mbps. The number two spot is probably not sitting well with South Korea, and the partnership with Ericsson will undoubtedly bring it back to the number one spot when 5G service becomes available. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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