In what is said to be a first for Africa, Nokia says it has successfully piloted 4G and 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) network slicing with Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom on its live commercial network.
The trial utilized a multi-vendor network environment and included RAN, transport and core as well as software upgrades to a range of Nokia’s products and services.
Network slicing gives operators the ability to divide a network into multiple virtual ‘slices’, which can be optimized for a specific target application or service. The end user of each network slice can then be serviced with different priorities, routing, levels of network performance and security capabilities. Slices can be managed and deployed in minutes, and each one has key performance indicators used for service assurance.
It’s early days yet of course but, given that this is the first time 4G/5G network slicing has been successfully achieved in Africa, Nokia suggests that the trial demonstrates that Safaricom is now poised to support new types of enterprise network services, including fast lane internet access and application slicing. In addition, Nokia says it is enabling secured FWA slice connectivity to enterprise locations, as well as to private or public application clouds.
The multi-vendor pilot took place in Kenya’s Western Region. It demonstrated a number of solutions including Nokia’s AirScale 4G/5G base stations, the NetAct network management and assurance system and Nokia’s FastMile 4G/5G CPE.
Nokia’s 4G/5G slicing solution supports LTE, 5G NSA and 5G SA technologies with slice service continuity between the networks. This enables slicing services for all LTE and 5G devices.