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Cisco CEO sees huge promise for 5G network slicing

Posted: 03 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cisco? 5G? network slicing? virtualisation? NFV?

The 5G system is shaping into a platform for services (versus building out physical networks dedicated to individual hardware). As this transition happens, Robbins stressed, "Service providers should be at the heart of value." Whether service providers are in automotive, mining or manufacturing businesses, 5G network needs to be able to deliver security, speed, reliability and capacity each service demands, he explained.

Preventing anything services

Consider automotive. What sort of services do carmakers and their OEMs want from the emerging 5G network? How far along are they in embracing connectivity and adopting the network slicing concept?

Robbins believes that automotive OEMs are moving very fast, probably much faster than anyone tends to believe.

Tesla is embracing the connectivity to download software to add new features to its cars, he said, but Tesla's not alone. Many OEMs are interested in offering better information and "preventing anything" services, before something catastrophic happens on the road, Robbins said.

Christian Martin, senior director of engineering, and CTO of Cisco in the North America, noted that the focus on "different services" typifies the "network slicing" concept.

Network slicing

Figure 2: Nokia explained 'Network Slicing' network as a service (Source: Nokia)

First off, Martin asked, what's the biggest cost issue for automotive OEMs these days? Answering himself, Martin said, "Recalls."

Whether called "proactive recalls" or "preventive analysis," carmakers would like to detect a problem before it blows up into a full-scale recall, said Martin. When he talked to General Motors recently, he understood the auto industry's dire need to sense and head off recall-level problems, as the new models hit the road and start revealing their idiosyncrasies.

Naturally, automakers will use a slice of the network for sending software updates. "They want to optimise the performance of their cars and add new features," Martin explained.

But the need for connectivity in the automotive industry doesn't stop there. There are a number of component vendors supplying products to car OEMs. "They can have a slice of network so that they can check how their engines, brakes or any of their components are functioning in new cars," explained Martin.

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