Nokia launches 5G network slicing software platform for CSPs

17 July 2020 4 min. read

Telecom giant Nokia has launched a software-based offering that helps communication service providers (CSPs) with managing the activation and delivery of complex 5G services like network slicing.

5G technology offers huge opportunities for business, in particular for companies in the industrial sector. Combined with technologies such as internet of things and artificial intelligence, 5G enables a more connected world and accelerates digital transformation and insights, making it one of the most eagerly anticipated emerging technologies around. 

To provide and optimise network bandwidth for 5G services, communications service providers (CSPs) make use of network slicing, a network architecture that enables the multiplexing of virtualised and independent networks on the same physical network infrastructure. This enables CSPs offer a customised connectivity service to operators, along with customised applications and Service Level Agreements (SLAs), while running a common network infrastructure.

Using network slicing, carriers can in turn customise their high-speed networks into ‘slices’ to meet the data needs of their customers, such as enterprise subscribers. While an automotive company may for instance require a stable 5G capacity 24/7 for its production process, a virtual gaming company may require just a two-hour slice for a large online competition, or a sports stadium may only need a five-hour slice for overseeing traffic flows during a Sunday football game.

Nokia launches 5G network slicing software platform for CSPs

Nokia’s new so-called Digital Operations Center software solution is the company’s first network slicing management product, and provides CSPs a fully automated platform to design, deploy and operate network slices at scale across multi-vendor, multi-domain and multi-technology environments. 

The platform provides CSPs greater control and visibility of the slicing capabilities across their network, and the tools to monitor and manage performance, all in a secure and cost effective manner throughout the entire lifecycle of services, said Brian McCann, Chief Product Officer of Nokia Software. 

“As we move from the consumer aspect of 5G to the enterprise and industrial side of 5G, Nokia Digital Operations Center is an important step to making the full set of network slicing capabilities available for CSPs. The platform gives our customers the full flexibility and agility they need to deliver to their customers.” 

According to Anil Rao, a Principal Analyst at consulting firm Analysys Mason: “To deliver a high level of network dynamicity and control to enterprises while guaranteeing SLAs and customer experience, CSPs will need to evolve their operations to an intent driven automated operations model. Nokia’s Digital Operations Center, combining network orchestration and assurance capabilities, provides the key software building blocks for intent driven operations and enables CSPs to offer on-demand enterprise network services based on 5G network slicing.” 

Analysys Mason is one of Nokia’s main research and consulting partners. The TMT consulting firm has in the past helped the telecom and infrastructure giant with developing new products and services, the deployment of performance improvement initiatives and innovation, and with thought leadership. Last year, the two companies jointly developed the ‘5G Maturity Index’, a report which outlines the key use cases of 5G and the key success factors for its deployment. 

Dana Cooperson, Research Director at Analysys Mason, said that Nokia’s new solution places the firm in a good position to expand its market share in the fast growing global telecom software and services market, which is estimated to be worth over $70 billion.

“Nokia’s performance is notably strong in areas such as network orchestration and automation, which are a big challenge for CSPs moving into the 5G era and where it has a wide range of products and professional service capabilities to help its customers make the NFV/SDN leap.”

Singtel, the leading communication service provider in Singapore, is one of the first CSPs to adopt Nokia’s new platform, and McCann said that the Finnish company is in discussions with a handful of other providers and operators.