Ericsson and SK Telecom to collaborate on 5G network slicing

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Ericsson and SK Telecom have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to collaborate on the development of a 5G core network that deploys network slicing technology. The development, which leverages Ericsson's Regional Cloud Lab and Ericsson HDS 8000, is planned to be ready by the end of 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson and SK Telecom will develop and deploy network slicing technology optimized for 5G services. The two companies will also continue their existing partnership to build a joint 5G test bed. Work on the test bed is starting this year, with the ambition to provide the world's most advanced end-to-end 5G pilot services.

Projected 5G use cases such as remote machinery, intelligent transportation and virtual reality will place new performance and security demands on networks. To meet these requirements, 5G networks will be built with network slicing technologies that use logical instead of physical resources, and which enable operators to provide networks on an as-a-service basis. The instantiation of the network slicing will use the Ericsson Virtual Evolved Packet Core solution.

"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," says Alex Jinsung Choi, Chief Technology Officer at SK Telecom.

The collaboration will leverage the capabilities of Ericsson's Regional Cloud Lab, which is distributed across four sites in North East Asia including Anyang in South Korea, Beijing and Shanghai in China, and Tokyo in Japan. Fully operational since 2014, the Lab supports operators with the development and verification of cloud, Network Functions Virtualization and software-defined networking technologies.

The network infrastructure will be designed and built on Ericsson's pioneering Hyperscale Datacenter System, Ericsson HDS 8000. Launched at Mobile World Congress in February 2015, this solution represents a new generation of hyperscale datacenter systems that uses IntelĀ® Rack Scale Architecture for a disaggregated hardware approach that dramatically improves efficiency, utilization, automation and total cost of ownership for virtualized environments.

"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. It is important that we work together in the industry on this journey", says Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson.

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