AT&T will provide 5G and networking-as-a-service capabilities to support more than 24,000 military personnel on U.S. Air Force bases Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. AT&T officials said they hope to extend the services across the entirety of the Air Force eventually.
Networking-as-a-service is possible because of 5G’s capability of “slicing” the network core to multiple networks, known as end-to-end (E2E) network slicing. The Air Force program aims to use its slice of commercial networking services to deliver enhanced speed, security and capabilities and an efficient and improved user experience, including near-ubiquitous wireless connectivity across the bases.
In addition to 5G services, AT&T is providing capabilities such as a base area network, wide area network, telephony, internet access and highly secure interoperability with legacy systems at the three bases. The 5G and networking-as-a-service capabilities can support other advanced technology capabilities such as IoT, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, drones, and network edge storage and compute.
AT&T has completed the 5G system design across all three bases and expects to complete delivery by the end of 2021.
First End-to-end Network Slicing Demos in Japan
Just five days ago, Samsung Electronics and KDDI completed the first 5G E2E demonstration with a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) in Tokyo, Japan. The companies showed new use cases using 5G E2E network slicing on a virtual network that ties together Samsung’s virtualized core, virtualized RAN, and orchestration.
5G E2E network slicing will play a key role for mobile operators by enabling multiple virtual networks to be created within a single physical network infrastructure. Each virtual network will have different service characteristics, referred to as ‘slices’ that allow mobile carriers to create new services and business models.
For instance, within the same mobile network, operators can create a low latency-focused slice dedicated to automated vehicle drivers, while a separate high bandwidth slice can be created for video streamers. Both slices can be provided simultaneously without deploying additional network resources or hindering the quality of service in either case.
For businesses, network slicing can be used to prioritize different performance needs, such as when hospitals must prioritize more bandwidth to emergency room admissions, and less to visitor services.