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Huawei forms partnership with UK's BT Group for 5G services

By Cecily Liu in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-24 01:23

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has advanced its cutting-edge research capability through a partnership with the UK's BT Group, through which the companies will look into new "network slicing" technology to support future 5G mobile services.

Their joint research project, announced on Wednesday, will explore ways in which network services can be cut up into many parts, so individual services can enjoy parts of the network without affecting the bandwidth of other services on the same network.

Network slicing is a form of network traffic management and has many applications. For example, it could offer TV broadcasters reliable 5G performance during a busy live-music event.

Network slicing is also useful in dealing with emergency situations. At such times, a new slice could be created within a network and reserved for emergency services, allowing them to do such things as command a drone to gain an aerial view of an incident.

Without slicing, networks available to emergency services can be limited because there is often heavy use of them by other users at such times.

Yang Chaobin, president of Huawei's 5G product line, said network slicing is very important in ensuring a single piece of infrastructure can serve many different industries.

"There are two different ways to realize the digitalization of society, the first one is to have dedicated infrastructure for different requirements, the second one is to have a common infrastructure serving different vertical industries, I believe the latter, which uses network slicing, will be critical to effective delivery of services and improved efficiency," Yang said.

Howard Watson, BT's CEO of technology, service and operations, said his team is excited about the possibilities of the research with Huawei, and the added flexibility that network slicing may offer, because it will allow BT "to better serve specific customer needs as we move toward a 5G world".

The collaboration is the latest joint research activity involving Huawei and BT.

The two firms started to work together on research last year, and will showcase some of the fruits of their efforts at the Huawei stand at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which will begin on Monday.

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