Leveraging 5G, Network Slicing and MEC to Deliver Real-World Services and True Business Value

In late 2019, China Telecom – the parent company of China Telecom Americas – announced a new 5G network slicing project trial in China that will be focused on the promise and potential of enterprise and industrial applications. This experiment will ultimately lead to the first 5G smart factory, which will then be used as an example and prototype for future 5G use. As 5G’s higher speeds and lower latencies enable numerous new applications from the IoT to the manufacturing floor, the need for network slicing becomes more critical. Network slicing lets communications providers dedicate individual “slices” of the network for IoT and Industrial Internet services, allowing them to allocate their network resources more efficiently.

5G is going to change how companies work and will provide new ways of leveraging real-time data to derive business value. The impact of 5G will be pervasive globally. In fact, the GSMA predicts that 5G will account for almost half of China’s overall mobile connections by 2025, with other markets such as Japan, South Korea and the US having similar rates of adoption.

China Telecom has been at the forefront of exploring what can be achieved through 5G. As part of this commitment, China Telecom has stated that it expects to have access to 300,000 5G base stations by the end of 2020. This is five times the number the company had live at the end of 2019. Clearly, China Telecom and China Telecom Americas expect 5G, and network slicing as part of it, to grow considerably. And we aren’t alone. Industry analyst firm, Global Market Insights, recently predicted that the market for network slicing will experience a growth rate of as much as 15% from now until 2026.

To ensure its customers will be able to truly experience what will be possible, China Telecom has been focused on conducting trials at manufacturing facilities across China to demonstrate the true power of 5G network slicing with Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), a network architecture concept that enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network. China Telecom is presently working with technology partners and the ETSI to explore standards and specifications for deploying network slicing in MEC-enabled 5G networks.

This is critical because China Telecom understands that each application and service have different requirements for bandwidth capacity, speed and latency. The only common requirement is availability, with 100% being the expectation. Think about a service such as connected cars. According to ABI Research, there will be 41 million 5G connected cars on the road by 2030. China Telecom understands that this type of application will require a much different service profile than what is needed to enable reading of smart meters. Some may require ultra-low latency, others may require high bandwidth, and the ability for China Telecom to deliver exactly what each service needs is made possible by its ability to slice network capacity across the control, data and management planes.

To provide customers with the low latency required by the Industrial Internet, China Telecom will be deploying MEC at the edge of its network globally, which will allow enterprises to leverage the network like never before.

Some of the many real-world applications that China Telecom is working on to deliver to its customers, with the help of its technology partners, include:

  • 5G for Smart Grid
  • Flexible Smart Manufacturing with 5G Edge Computing
  • 5G Intelligent Connected Vehicles
  • Aircraft Surface Inspection
  • Heavy Industry 5G and Smart Manufacturing

China Telecom is truly just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of what 5G can deliver, and the opportunities are endless.

If your business is ready to benefit from the power and potential of 5G please let us know. We’d love to share our experiences working with some of the world’s largest companies.

China Telecom Americas, a wholly-owned US-based subsidiary of China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA), is an international telecom provider for Data, IP and Voice Wholesale services to multinational companies, organizations and international carriers requiring China domestic services and International access to China & Asia Pacific.

With headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, and offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, San Jose, and subsidiaries in Toronto, Canada, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, China Telecom Americas continues to expand its strength and reach.

China Telecom Americas provides locally based, one-stop-shop, turnkey solutions for everything from China domestic and international data circuits to IDC services, network management, equipment management, system integration, and much more.

For additional information on China Telecom Americas, please visit www.ctamericas.com.

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5G Network Slice Project Trial in China

China Telecom is excited to announce a new 5G network slice project trial in China, which will soon be leveraged in enterprise and industrial applications. Along with leading technology partners from around the world, China Telecom participated in the “5G Slicing + MEC + Intelligent Manufacturing” trial to explore the uses of 5G network slicing and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) in 5G networks to enable intelligent manufacturing and Industrial IoT applications in China. This research will pave the way for 5G smart factories, and other scenarios and use cases for 5G in the enterprise.

Introducing 5G to the Intelligent Manufacturing Industry

5G is likely to be far more advantageous to the business market than to the consumer market. Within the business market, the technology itself is sound, but the greatest concerns lie in implementation. 5G network slice technology is ready for business use on a technical level, but it needs to be tested in practice. Both business and pricing models are yet to be brought to market.

Regardless, 5G is necessary for any industry that currently operates with the Internet of Things. 5G will be able to extend into intelligent warehousing, logistics, and supply systems, in addition to manufacturing and production. Through 5G, manufactures are going to be able to better leverage their intelligent technology and their smart systems capabilities to gain unprecedented real-time visibility, edge processing with isolation and control of mission-critical operations.

5G Network Slicing Breakthroughs to Come

China Telecom, as a leader in Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), is presently working with technology partners and the ETSI to explore standards and specifications for deploying network slicing in MEC-enabled 5G networks. According to ETSI, “Network Slicing allows the allocation of the required features and resources from the available network functions to different services or to tenants that are using the services,” and the potential to give customers the ability to create instantly validated, low-latency slices, improving the overall functionality and security of the 5G ecosystem – a potential major advancement for enterprise networking. Analysts are optimistic on MEC for manufacturing as well, with Research and Markets predicting that the MEC market in support of manufacturing in Asia will reach $194.4M by 2024.

To support the demand, China Telecom was able to achieve a 5G end-to-end call through the 5G trial network with a commercial chipset terminal in 2018.  This year,  China Telecom has been further conducting standalone trials at manufacturing facilities, to show the true power of 5G network slice with MEC processing. In the first ever test of this type of technology in a manufacturing setting, industrial vision inspection equipment and an AI-based industrial vision analysis system running on nearby MEC servers were used to identify anomalies and in the production line from multiple high-definition (20 Mbps) video streams with a delay of less than 20ms to immediately alert workers if anomalies were discovered.

This highlights the potential uses of 5G in a manufacturing capacity. With the higher speeds and larger volumes of data available, smart devices like tele-robotics and robotics in industrial automation use-cases are able to perform exceedingly complex tasks in real-time. This opens the door for additional automation, flexibility, and significant improvements in manufacturing, shipping, logistics, and other industrial applications.

The Benefits of a 5G Network Slice

Around the globe, countries are trying to figure out how they are going to manage the implementation of 5G. 5G slicing allows for the creation of isolated, end-to-end networks on the same physical network. A single physical network can be used to virtualize a multitude of networks, thereby making it possible to support 5G solutions. At present, 5G solutions have vastly different levels of requirements. Unlike 2G and 3G, a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be used.

China Telecom’s experiments with 5G slicing will make it truly feasible to utilize 5G devices within an organization’s infrastructure, thereby facilitating all the benefits that come with 5G technology.

Network slicing vastly improves security through network segmentation. With network security being one of the primary concerns with smart devices and internet of things devices, this is a major draw and selling point. Through 5G slicing, companies are going to be able to leverage fully secured solutions, without compromising performance.

China Telecom Will Deliver First End-to-End 5G Network Slicing

This experiment will ultimately lead to the first 5G smart factory, which will then be used as an example and prototype for future 5G use. This exciting technology is something that manufacturers have been waiting for, as the technology allows them to leverage new smart machines and smart devices with low latency and greater reliability.

Ultimately, many believe that network slicing is going to be the determining factor regarding whether 5G wireless is going to be a success. But China Telecom is excited to announce that the benefits of 5G have already been proven, and that there will be more to come.