It has been over two months since the Federal Communication Commission announced it would re-establish open internet rules, better known as net neutrality regulations. Since then, much ink has been spilled describing the many problems that imposing 1930s utility-style regulations on the broadband market would create. However, not enough has been written about how these regulations will undermine network customization, specifically network slicing.
Network slicing is a new and innovative virtual network architecture that “allows multiple virtual networks to be created on top of a common shared physical infrastructure.” It grants operators the ability to create dedicated virtual networks with “functionality specific to the service or customer over a common network.” This facilitates greater customization so that virtual networks can be tailored to the unique needs of customers and the growing assortment of network services they demand.
The ability to partition networks is essential because different use cases (scenarios in which a product or service can be used) place different performance requirements on networks regarding capacity, connectivity, speed and more. One slice may be used to operate autonomous machinery on a factory floor while another is used to monitor city vehicle traffic, and still another is used to provide real-time video transmission to emergency services. The options are limitless.
In addition, since each slice of the network acts as a separate physical network, there is no possibility of network interference. This enhances the quality of service for customers and lowers the risk of launching future services. The isolation also provides security benefits since the damage caused by a cyberattack is more likely to be contained to an individual slice.
Network slicing holds significant potential for 5G technology, in particular. Whereas earlier generations of cellular networks could support network slicing only to a limited degree, network slicing is a crucial feature of 5G, giving providers the unprecedented opportunity to dedicate specific network slices to an ever-growing number of use cases.
Read the Inside Sources article here.
Nate Scherer is a policy analyst with the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit us at www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on X @ConsumerPal.