The potential with slicing to create multiple virtual networks within a single physical infrastructure, each tailored to specific needs, is still very much there, but a number of challenges must yet be addressed before operators can successfully launch 5G network slicing solutions for enterprises.

While most mobile operators have deployed non-standalone 5G—where 5G access networks still rely on a 4G core network—many of the largest players haven’t even begun to upgrade their core.

Until that is done, the operational benefits of using virtualised network slices won’t apply, limiting their commercial motivation.

That’s only the beginning, though, as the practical implementation of 5G slicing requires seamless integration across diverse network components. Achieving this involves ensuring interoperability among devices, network equipment (including the transport layer), and software platforms from many different vendors and technology communities.

The current landscape, dominated by proprietary solutions, complicates this task.

Network slicing security concerns

Network slicing also introduces new security complexities. While each slice by definition keeps traffic separated, there are still matters to be resolved around device authentication and unauthorized access. The level of isolation required to provide true data privacy and security demands advanced measures including encryption, rigorous access controls, and continuous monitoring.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Slicing should eventually be seen as being more secure than generic mobile connectivity from the public network, but not until comprehensive security frameworks that address these concerns have been developed and implemented.

Scalability and resource allocation

Effective resource allocation is critical for network slicing. The promise of the technology is being able to dynamically allocate network resources to different slices based on real-time demand. Indeed, early adoption looks most promising for temporary or event-based slices providing coverage and capacity for large but time-limited requirements – such as a major festival or sports event.

Network vendors are developing dynamic slice management, but the maturity of the technology is at an early stage. The challenge lies in enabling network operators to manage the diverse and fluctuating demands of a wider range of enterprise applications, including temporary requirements and guaranteed performance levels, and to do so dynamically with the help of automated processes.

Regulatory and compliance Issues

The regulatory landscape for 5G and network slicing is still evolving. Operators must navigate a complex web of regulations governing spectrum allocation, data privacy, and security standards. There are also unresolved issues in the US around the compatibility of slicing with net neutrality rules.

Market readiness and customer education

Customer demand for network slicing solutions isn’t there yet. Most enterprise decision-makers haven’t even heard of it, and those who have remain sceptical, often due to limited understanding of its benefits and potential applications.

Mobile operators and solution provider partners will have to invest in educating enterprise customers (as well as their internal teams) about the advantages of slicing, such as improved performance, reliability, and customisation. Demonstrating clear business use cases will be key to overcoming this hurdle.

Ecosystem development

A thriving ecosystem of partners, including device manufacturers, application developers, and system integrators, is vital for the success of slicing.

Operators should work to foster such collaborations within the ecosystem to develop end-to-end solutions that meet the specific needs of different industries. For example, in manufacturing, this could mean partnering with IoT device makers to ensure seamless integration and performance.

Network slicing solutions

Launching 5G network slicing solutions for enterprises is a complex endeavour, fraught with technical, regulatory, and market challenges. By addressing these issues head-on (in partnership with 5G technology partners), mobile network service providers can get closer to realizing slicing’s promise. Success will depend on collaboration across the ecosystem, as well as strategic investments in 5G SA and associated business and operational systems.

As these challenges are overcome, network slicing should offer high-value mobile connectivity for enterprise use cases, providing unprecedented levels of customization, performance, and reliability for advanced use cases. That time is not this year, however.