BT and Huawei announce ‘network slicing’ 5G research


Both companies claim the research will be important for mission critical services

BT and Huawei have announced new research into ‘network slicing’ which can potentially be used to support upcoming 5G services.

Put simply, ‘networking slices’ allows specific areas of a broadband-based network to be used for certain activities without exceeding a certain bandwidth or data cap. This will allow the selected connections to continue running without interruption. For example, a live music event being broadcast over a 5G network can be streamed by thousands of people without worry from the organisers that the data will exceed certain limitations.

Network slicing can also be used for emergencies. A security team at the music event, for example, can create a ‘new slice’ which will allow them to command a drone or communicate to other security staff without worry their communication channel being disrupted.

The announcement follows a recent 5G agreement signed by the pair in December last year and marks the first area of 5G research at the BT Labs in Adastral Park (pictured). Based near Ipswich, Adastral Park is a centre used to research new technologies such as 5G.

BT CEO of technology service and operations Howard Watson said: “Customers are increasingly demanding converged networks that deliver a mix of flexibility, reliability and optimisation. 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,