Huawei unveils 5G network slicing application for smart grids

Natalie Bannerman
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Huawei launches 'world's first' 5G network slicing application for power grids, demonstrating how the ultra-low latency of 5G can help restore power in 300ms to an area where power has been lost

Huawei has demonstrated ‘the world’s first’ 5G network slicing application for smart grids during the PT Expo China 2017, in Beijing.

The application is based on Huawei’s 5G Core solution Service-Oriented Core (SOC), part of Huawei's E2E 5G solution. The presentation showcased a number of features of the application including automated 5G network slicing customised to service requirements, how the ultra-low latency of 5G can help restore power in 300 ms to an area where power has been lost and how 5G enables a distribution network ensuring the secure, reliable, and stable operations.

Because the power grid industry requires high security, reliability and performance for the proper provisioning of diverse services, it is the ideal industry that could benefit from the introduction from 5G. Huawei’s Wireless X Labs research, found that constructing a smart distribution network on top of a communications network is key to an efficient, high-quality power grid.

The distribution network is traditionally a dedicated or public carrier network, this is an expensive and inflexible way of doing things. 5G is an ideal solution because it divides the telecommunications network into isolated network slices, allowing the power grid to be tailored to specific industry needs and allows utilities to deliver its services at a low cost.

5G network slicing for smart grid services is a new approach because network resources provided by carriers can be turned into manually isolated network slices to meet the network requirements for the various services on the smart grid. In addition, network slicing can also be used for collecting data on electricity usage, for distributed power, for pile control at electric vehicle charging stations and many of the other standard power grid services. 

Huawei began researching 5G network slicing in 2014 and since then, has been working with global carriers on joint innovation in the area. Projects like the network slicing research programme with BT that was launched in February. In December 2016, Huawei partnered with Deutsche Telekom to demonstrate end-to-end 5G network slicing

The applications of 5G network slicing are vast and Huawei says it hopes the technology will help promote digital transformation for all sorts of vertical industries.