SK Telecom applies network slicing technology to commercial 5G network

By Lim Chang-won Posted : December 10, 2020, 14:27 Updated : December 10, 2020, 14:27

[Courtesy of SK Telecom]

SEOUL -- For the first time in the world, SK Telecom, a top mobile carrier in South Korea, has successfully applied network slicing technology, which is essential for separating virtual networks, to a 5G commercial network, allowing corporate customers to develop various services more easily and quickly.

SK Telecom (SKT) said that it can provide an optimal network depending on the characteristics of each service, such as security services, game services, and specific corporate services. Up to eight network slice interworking is supported at the same time by interworking a different slice network in accordance with app service characteristics in one terminal.

SKT said the establishment of an individual 5G network will activate future growth businesses such as smart factories, smart hospitals and autonomous driving while improving the quality of augmented reality, virtual reality and cloud games.

"This technology development is meaningful as it laid the technical foundation for the future evolution of 5G into a service-aware network that recognizes optimal communication quality conditions for each service and automatically provides appropriate networks," SKT's 5GX Labs head Park Jong-kwan said in a statement on December 10.

SKT has developed an orchestration solution that can operate and manage the entire stage of each sliced individual network. Through upgraded technology, SKT will apply network slicing technology to all base stations to provide customized network services.

In 2019, South Korea commercialized 5G mobile networks based on non-standalone (NSA) standards, using 4G infrastructure before switching to 5G standalone (SA) that improves efficiency in massive data traffic and enables ultra-low latency and much higher capacity.

For a 5G network using standalone technology, SKT has adopted a new technology called "Control Plane and User Plane Separation (CUPS)" to accommodate NSA and SA at the same time. 5G SA communication can be developed quickly and efficiently by upgrading software without replacing a base station. SKT has also applied mobile edge computing (MEC), which provides ultra-low delay and high-speed services regardless of physical distance.
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