Intercontinental 5G Network Trial from Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson and SK Telecom

  • Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson and SK Telecom successfully demonstrate optimized end-user experiences with 5G roaming
  • Federated network slicing for 5G roaming extends customers’ desired functionalities and service parameters into visited networks
  • Best of both networks for global customers when abroad

Deutsche Telekom (DT), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and SK Telecom have jointly built and demonstrated the world’s first intercontinental 5G trial network. DT and SK Telecom network slices are now available in the other operator’s footprint – and Germany and Korea are connected. A proof-of-concept has been implemented and successfully evaluated, featuring the creation and roaming extension of network slices optimized for Augmented Reality (AR) and maintenance services.

The successful demonstration was hosted at DT’s corporate R&D center in Bonn, Germany and SK Telecom’s 5G Testbed at Yeoungjong-do (BMW driving center), South Korea. It follows the joint announcement at MWC Shanghai 2016 by DT, Ericsson and SK Telecom of their global partnership to develop the groundbreaking 5G technology for such a network.

 “Our customers are demanding global connectivity with a unified service experience,” says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom. “Network slicing is envisaged as a key enabler to support multiple services in the 5G era. Today’s breakthrough shows we can extend that concept to ensure optimized service experiences with global reach for our customers.”

Ulf Ewaldsson, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer at Ericsson, says: “5G is the network for all industries. Network slices in the context of 5G will be like “virtual networks on-demand”. With this world’s first intercontinental 5G trial network, we truly demonstrate the provisioning of network slices to global customers when abroad.”

“5G is not just a faster network. 5G will provide extreme user experience anywhere and anytime, even when the user roams across different operators globally,” says Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO SK Telecom. “Federated network slicing will enable seamless platform sharing among operators at a global scale for continuous and guaranteed user experience.”

In 5G, network slicing will allow the operator to configure an end-to-end network that provides the desired overall functionality and service parameters. Federated network slicing for 5G roaming extends this concept to a visited network. This technology will make it possible for an operator to provide a network service globally, making sure that the customer does not need individual agreements with different operators for a global service experience.

New cooperation models

A pre-requisite for federated network slicing for 5G is an enhanced cooperation model where operators open up their network to host partner services. The home and visited operators must have agreements in place that enable the recreation of a given network slice in the visited network.

These agreements should cover aspects such as: network slice availability at the access layer (cellular, fixed), availability in the core network and the connection to customer application servers. The hosting of edge cloud resources by the visited network enables the execution of special business functions that demand high throughput and low latency, close to the customer in the visited network.

The proof-of-concept on February 14 used federated network slicing functionality to run components of the 5G core of the home network in the visited network. The demo featured an industrial maintenance use case involving a repair worker communicating via AR with support colleagues in a visited network. The scenario used local breakout and edge cloud to enable the best service experience in terms of latency and throughput for the AR repairman.

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