Vodafone UK teamed with Swedish vendor Ericsson to complete what the pair claimed was the first standalone (SA) 5G network slicing trial in the country, demonstrating a VR use case.

Conducted in a laboratory demonstration, the companies explained they had worked to create an on-demand 5G network slice, configured using a RAN slicing function, to provide the low latency and high bandwidth required for a VR use case in a retail store.

The slice created “guaranteed a download speed of 260Mb/s and latency of 12.4 milliseconds, with the entire process from placing an order to creation of the network slice to carry live network traffic taking a total of 30 minutes” the companies stated.

Vodafone and Ericsson claimed the trial demonstrated the ability “to rapidly deliver automated and customised connectivity services as customers’ needs change”.

Network slicing is considered a major network technology advancement through SA 5G, allowing operators to create multiple virtual network slices across the same physical network.

Each slice is isolated from other network traffic, giving dedicated performance levels and features tailored to specific use cases.

In addition to VR, other use cases in autonomous driving, remote healthcare and AR are expected to come to the fore.

Andrea Dona, chief network officer at Vodafone UK, believes network slicing is an “incredibly valuable step forward” and being able to configure its network can help industries like gaming, entertainment and healthcare enter a new era.

“What might seem like science fiction is one step closer thanks to network slicing.”