Stand by for a year of focused reports on how 5G networks can be optimised via Network Slicing to deliver tailored services for specific vertical industries, and thereby help justify the telcos’ argument that 5G will finally open the door wide to new industry partnerships and contracts. The first report we have seen this year comes from China and focuses on the smart grid and power distribution.
China Telecom, China’s State Grid and Huawei have jointly released a report that details the results of their national 5G network slicing project, which was first announced last September. It sets out the challenges encountered during smart grid development, potential application scenarios of 5G network slicing in smart grids, and analysis of the overall concept. One should also remember that China is heavily invested in the "Made in China 2025" government mandated economic strategy, and a truly smart grid powered by 5G fits very nicely into this model.
"We hope that the three parties can fully leverage the resources from the national major project and the 5G pilot resources of China Telecom to promote joint innovation and build an end-to-end 5G ecosystem,” a spokesperson for China Telecom commented. “The release of this report is a landmark of the substantial cooperation between operators and vertical industries in the 5G application field. Our next move is to further verify the 5G network slicing capabilities in power grid service instances and make network slicing easier to use through closer partnerships with State Grid and Huawei."
The report says that 5G network slicing technologies will enable the intelligent operation of the power grid, with the 5G core network providing network slices with differentiated capabilities to fulfil the requirements of new services in specific scenarios. Network slicing should also enable grid utilities to control and manage network resources visually in the entire process, which the report calculates will significantly decrease the 5G network slice deployment cost and promote application innovation for a smarter grid.
The research studied four typical service scenarios of a network slicing enabled smart grid (if this area is of interest to you, and you are up for some heavy network analysis, then you should read the report in detail):
"A ubiquitous, real-time, secure, and efficient communication system is essential for a smart grid,” said Wei Lei of State Grid Jiangsu Electric Power. “The energy industry is experiencing a radical change. Research on 5G network slicing for power grid are based on new power grid operation and service modes to meet the emerging service requirements. We are seeking a real-time, highly reliable, and efficient communication network to enable smart grid operations, intelligent power grid enterprises, and convenient electricity utilization."
The report concludes that the observed service requirements based on technical specifications vary greatly according to scenarios. It recommends that operation enterprises and network equipment vendors should further quantify network technical specifications and architecture design based on the technical requirements of these industries, including:
"In the 5G era, we must remain open and cooperative, and keep exploring vertical industries,” added Qiu Xuefeng, president of 5G Core Network, Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line. “Great solutions for vertical industries depend on deep understanding of their requirements. Huawei will work with more industry partners to help verticals achieve intelligent transformation through 5G network slicing."
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