Nokia announced Wednesday that it has launched a network slicing solution that enables service providers to deploy programmable fixed broadband services.
Network slicing is a core element of 5G services, but Nokia is touting the ability to use it as a means for operators to deploy network-as-a-service offerings for fixed broadband solutions. Network slicing partitions the fixed access network into autonomous slices that allow carriers to create new, programmable services for use by internal customers or third parties.
The network slices, each of which can be independently operated, are expected to help service providers enter new business areas, share investments and improve capex by converging more services on a single infrastructure.
"I believe that virtual network slicing will form the basis for everything the fixed access industry does going forward," said Federico Guillen, president of Nokia Fixed Networks, in a prepared statement. "It can provide a more elegant and powerful way to monetize ultra-broadband deployments, help accelerate the delivery of new services, spread investment risk, reduce complexity and unlock new business opportunities that allow service providers to better serve their end-customers."
Nokia's Fixed Network Slicing offering was built around its cloud-native software platform, Altiplano, and open standards. It allows operators to establish full control and autonomy for each slice they manage, plus it determines the performance metrics for the network and services they deliver to customers.
Software defined access networks (SDAN) allow networks to be partitioned into virtual slices. Operators can tap into SDAN to connect more end users without needing parallel networks.
Nokia's slicing solution uses open interfaces and YANG data models to create the virtual slices that mirror services on a physical network. Nokia also said that its networking slicing offering works with equipment from other vendors. Network slicing makes it easier for carriers to share their physical network assets by enabling them to automate processes such as rules, regulations and multivendor integration.
Nokia said it has been demonstrating its fixed access network slicing to service providers around the globe, but didn't say if it had been deployed to date.
The vendor took part in the work that led to the publication of TR-370 on Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) by the Broadband Forum, and its currently involved in the specification of the YANG modules that are used to achieve FANS.
Nokia has been in a race with other industry vendors, mainly Ericsson, to get network slicing in place now for LTE and for the expected wide-scale roll out of 5G next year. In June, Ericsson announced a deal with Telefónica to offer customers network slicing on private networks via the telco's UNICA cloud platform.