5G Edge Network Slicing: New Revenue Stream for Data Centres

Nokia, A1 and Microsoft announce deployment of industry-first 5G edge cloud network slicing solution for enterprises, creating new business opportunities

A 5G edge cloud networking slicing solution has been announced by leading companies, Nokia, A1 Austria (A1) and Microsoft.

The solution is designed to enable A1 to deliver secure and high-performing Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to business customers combined with edge cloud applications over 4G and 5G networks.

Likewise, Nokia’s 5G edge networking slicing solution is able to integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Azure edge and cloud on A1 Austria’s live commercial network. The end goal is to create new business opportunities with network slicing-as-a-service offerings from mobile devices to a wide range of business cloud applications.

Expanded 5G services to enhance business operations

Network slicing is best defined as allowing mobile operators to create multiple networks using one physical network. As a result, they can create virtualised 4G and 5G enterprise networks in a selected area to better leverage existing network assets.

It can be used across a wide range of use cases, including retail, media, utilities, healthcare and transportation - tailored to support specific customer use cases.

Nokia’s 5G Edge Slicing solution aims to enable different services with a high overall quality of service for various customers across common networks. Organisations can therefore take advantage of both slicing and edge cloud capabilities and provide greater value to their customers.

It also offers a sliced mobile broadband VPN in certain business areas, supporting multiple business VPN deployments that use the same 4G or 5G network.

With edge cloud network slicing, A1 is able to bring enterprise cloud applications to mobile users over a secure high capacity and low latency network. The solution enabled the company to isolate its public internet and enterprise traffic, whilst simultaneously keeping critical business traffic local.

The trial was executed with Microsoft Azure, which supports both private and public business applications at the edge. Azure-managed edge compute was also deployed at A1’s data centre in Vienna with connectivity to the Azure region in Austria.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, says: “This deployment with our partners, A1 and Microsoft is further demonstrating Nokia’s leadership in network slicing as well as our mission to help our customers unlock further 5G monetisation opportunities.

"Edge cloud network slicing gives customers the best of both worlds with network slicing and edge cloud applications that enhance the enterprise customer experience.”

The next generation of data centre operations

With the rapid expansion of 5G development, increasing numbers of data centre companies are looking to the technology as a solution to improve operational efficiencies. Ultimately, 5G can work to help customer demand for data processing and communication services throughout the industry.

Verizon says that combining 5G and data centres at the edge can enable industries to reap the benefits of lower latency, higher speeds and larger bandwidth to make their operations even more efficient. 5G can be leveraged in connection with multi-access computing (MEXC) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Both Nokia and Microsoft are working towards efficient solutions for the data centre. In particular, Microsoft boosted its investments at the end of 2023 with the goal of forming more AI data centres to enhance enterprise digital transformations.

“Our collaboration with A1 and Nokia, and the deployment of network slicing using Microsoft Azure, is a testament to our commitment to innovation,” says Silvia Candiani, Vice President, Telecommunications and Media at Microsoft. 

“As we redefine connectivity, we’re also providing opportunities to industry leaders like A1 and Nokia to tap into the large Microsoft ecosystem of enterprise developers and solution providers to help drive new monetisation efforts.”

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