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Nokia and Google score breakthrough in Android 13 network slicing

Nokia's solution will allow devices to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously, provided by existing 4G and 5G operators

A cell mast sits atop a building marked with the word NOKIA

Nokia and Google have successfully trialled the use of network slicing, to allow for simultaneous connection to 4G and 5G networks on Android devices.

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Network slicing is a method by which a network is separated into a system of logical networks operating on a shared infrastructure, each configured to fulfil a specific purpose. For example, a slice with heightened security could facilitate the transfer of sensitive information, while a low latency slice facilitates a large video conference.

The companies have successfully trialled a solution known as UE Route Selection Policy (URSP), which allows devices to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously, and dynamically switch between slices in use.

This can be activated in real-time, and will enable devices to always connect to the optimal slices for the tasks they are performing. Operators will also be able to provide customers with personalised network slicing services, such as dedicated high-speed slices for enterprise traffic.

Once the solution has been deployed, Android 13 devices will be able to access a range of 5G network slicing services, which operators can tailor to customer needs.

The technology was demonstrated using a Google Pixel 6 Pro running Android 13, undertaken at Nokia’s network slicing development centre in Tampere, Finland. Also included in the trial was novel functionality for LTE-5G New Radio slice interworking, technology that will give operators the ability to use the full extent of spectrum and coverage.

All LTE, 5G standalone (SA), and 5G non standalone (NSA) devices are supported by Nokia’s network slicing solution, allowing operators flexibility to offer network slicing over 4G and 5G and saving businesses from having to invest in new hardware to utilise the system’s benefits.

“New application-based URSP slicing solutions widen operator’s 5G network business opportunities” stated Ari Kynäslahti, head of technology and strategy at Nokia Mobile Networks.

“We are excited to develop and test new standards-based URSP technologies with Android that will ensure that our customers can provide leading-edge enterprise and consumer services using Android devices and Nokia’s 4G/5G networks.”

Nokia is a leading innovator in 5G networking, having been among the first to develop network slicing technology. Last month, the company announced that along with BT it had demonstrated four carrier aggregation on a 5G network, a European first that could lead to faster and better optimised 5G across the UK.

It will also lead the 6G-ANNA project in Germany, which seeks to advance end-to-end 6G architecture and wider network capability across Germany and the EU.

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