Ericsson and Google have demonstrated network slicing on Android 13-based devices in which enterprise and consumer use cases are supported. In addition, the demonstration showed what Ericsson says is the first time that a slice can be used by communications service providers to offer carrier-branded services.
Network slices, which rely on standalone 5G, can have specific performance characteristics and fulfill different service level agreements (SLAs). This enables them to support specialized or customized services.
It’s a very promising technology: The GSMA says that the enterprise segment of the network slicing market will be worth $300 billion by 2025, according to the Ericsson press release.
The demonstration was done in an Interoperability Device Testing (IODT) environment on Google Pixel 6 (Pro) devices using the Android 13 operating system. It featured an expansion of the capabilities for enterprises assigning network slicing to applications through User Equipment Route Selection Policy (URSP) rules. This enables a device using Android to connect simultaneously to multiple network slices.
Two different types of slices were available on a device’s consumer profile, apart from the default mobile broadband (MBB) slice. App developers now can request which connectivity category — latency or bandwidth — their app will need. Subsequently, an appropriate slice is selected. The characteristics of the slice are defined by the mobile network. In this way either latency or bandwidth can be prioritized, according to the app’s requirements, Ericsson says.
Android 13 will allow up to five enterprise-defined slices to be used by the device’s work profile. In situations where no URSP rules are available, carriers can configure their network so traffic from work profile apps can revert to a pre-configured enterprise Access Point Name (APN) connection – meaning the device will always keep a separate mobile data connection for enterprise-related traffic even if the network does not support URSP delivery.
“[T]he ability to provide for a wide and varied selection of use cases is of crucial importance,” Monica Zethzon, Head of Solution Area Packet Core at Ericsson, said in the press release about the Ericsson Google slicing news. “Communications Service Providers and enterprises who can offer customers the flexibility to take advantage of tailored network slices for both work and personal profiles on a single Android device are opening up a vast reserve of different uses of those devices.”