BT and Huawei will carry out joint-research into 5G ‘slicing’ – a feature of the standard that will allow operators to section off certain parts of the network for certain business applications so they are unaffected by other uses.
For example part of a 5G network at a sports venue could be reserved for broadcasting and not be impacted by thousands of spectators using their smartphones. Similarly, the operator could slice another portion for safety officials should there be an incident.
The research is the first product of a wider partnership between the two companies first detailed in December and will be based at BT’s Adastral Park R&D facility in Suffolk. Huawei and BT already share a close relationship and will work in other areas like cybersecurity and Internet of Things (IoT).
Following its acquisition of EE, BT has turned its attention to ‘integrated’ fixed-cellular broadband networks that deliver services no matter what technology is used.
“Customers are increasingly demanding converged networks that deliver a mix of flexibility, reliability and optimisation,” said Howard Watson, CEO of Technology, Services and Operations at BT. “It’s our role to ensure that our fixed and mobile networks deliver the best possible experience for customers regardless of the demands placed on them.
“That’s why we’re excited about the possibilities of this stream of research with Huawei, and the added flexibility network slicing may offer, allowing us to better serve specific customer needs as we move towards a 5G world.”
“There are two different ways to realize the digitalization of society, the first one is to have dedicated infrastructure for different requirements, the second one is to have a common infrastructure serving different vertical industries,” added Yang Chaobin, Huawei’s president of 5G.
“I believe the latter, which uses network slicing, will be critical to effective delivery of services and improved efficiency. Huawei is very pleased to be working with BT on investigating how to implement network slicing technologies in the UK.”
5G network slicing is being worked on by a number of network equipment and technology manufacturers including Ericsson and Samsung, both of whom are expected to discuss their endeavours at Mobile World Congress (MWC) next week.