Anyone For a Smart Network Slice?

As with any standardization effort, the development of 5G specifications takes into account many technological trends and new uses. Network features are designed for virtualization and automation to increase operational efficiency and flexibility. At the same time, smart devices were in the middle of a steep climb and had clear business value in new applications that took advantage of optimized 5G service features, with slightly enigmatic names like Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X), Massive Machine-Type Communication ( mMTC) and ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC).

At the intersection of these two trends, one of the concepts that was defined was the network slices.

5G network slices allow virtualized cellular networks to be configured on the same physical network infrastructure. Each segment is an isolated logical network designed to meet the service level requirements of highly specialized applications. Customers receive a logical part of the Radio Access Network (RAN) and the core network as part of a piece wrapped in a package of service level specifications.

Network slices captured everyone’s imagination in the early days and quickly became visible in the industrial media. The idea of ​​getting a cellular network ready for a set of certain performance characteristics was extremely fascinating! But what was lost in all the ads were the more conventional uses:

  • How can major enterprise applications benefit from a piece?

  • How can corporate IT gain more visibility and control over the cellular network?

  • How about 3G and 4G network slices?

Despite the fact that people, phones and tablets are essential to any type of business around the world, cellular connectivity is a bit of a black hole. Businesses have limited visibility and control, and devices remain unprotected on the public Internet. Although it is technically possible for an enterprise to obtain a 5G affiliate for any use, affiliates are not optimal for uses that do not have specialized performance requirements. In addition, most devices will continue to be on 3G and 4G because 5G will not be ubiquitous for several years; the subsidiaries are offered at a first-class price, requiring time and technical investment to obtain one; and telecommunications interfaces can be challenging to integrate with enterprise IT systems.

With 3G and 4G, it is possible to get a private access point name (APN), which adds a degree of confidentiality and visibility. Although there are no strict performance specifications (no RAN integration), for the vast majority of human-driven applications, this doesn’t really matter. But private APNs have similar limitations as 5G slices: They are more expensive than typical business cellular services, take time to obtain and deploy, and can be a challenge to integrate into an enterprise architecture.

Akamai offers a new way to create intelligent cellular network slices – fast, easy and economical. Mobile network operators can deploy new security and personalization services (SPS) that connect to a private APN configured on their 4G packet gateways (PGW) or equivalent 5G custom airplane features (UPF).

Businesses have access to a self-service portal and configure their snippet and SIM-based devices to use it in minutes without having client software on any device. Basic Mobile Device Management Platforms (MDMs) and Universal Endpoint Management Platforms (UEMs) are now integrated. A basic level of security is built-in and additional content filters can be configured to provide performance while employees use corporate-controlled devices. IT teams receive a console that provides full visibility and control over the entire mobile estate.

Akamai’s additional services integrate Internet of Things (IoT) systems, a powerful alternative for most smart devices that do not take advantage of the specialized performance parameters of a 5G piece (or upfront costs for a private APN). Even more enhancements include a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), so that mobile users can access enterprise resources without friction, no matter where they work or where the applications they depend on are located. (More on this in a future blog post.)

This new vision for smart slices puts mobile devices on the same footing as all other networking technologies. Businesses are getting the visibility and control they need as they increase the focus on mobile devices to adapt modern work models that are highly biased towards remote access.

Want a piece of smart cellular network for your 3G, 4G and 5G cellular devices? To learn more visit our website.

*** This is a syndicated blog of the Security Bloggers Network from The Akamai blog author of Mick Higgins. Read the original post at: