ZTE Helps China Unicom Shenzhen Verify the World's First 5G SA E2E Slice

Release Date:2021-03-31  Author:By Zhou Wenduan, Guo Qianlin  Click:

In the first half of 2020, the wave of new infrastructure has fast-tracked 5G network deployment in China. In particular, the deployment of 5G in vertical industries accelerates the verification of 5G transport slicing applications. On July 16, ZTE, together with China Unicom Shenzhen, verified the world's first app-level 5G SA end-to-end (E2E) network slicing pilot trial in Guangdong, furthering 5G network commercialization. The test focuses on FlexE-based 5G transport network slicing, and demonstrates the strength of ZTE in 5G transport networks.
China Unicom Shenzhen and ZTE have a profound accumulation with respect to technical research and service applications of 5G SA end-to-end slicing, and in-depth cooperation on slice commercialization in the fields of industry, culture and entertainment. In the pilot, a 5G SA end-to-end network spanning the wireless, transport and core networks was deployed with a slicing operation platform, 5G terminals and multiple apps, and the FlexE-based 5G transport network slicing solution perfectly supports the requirements of multi-scenario application.

Technical Solutions
The ZTE transport network in the pilot uses a range of industry-leading technical solutions, and verifies the efficiency, flexibility, convenience and intelligence of the transport network slicing technology and the management & control integrated system (ZENIC ONE) from multiple angles. The solutions cover transport slicing technology Slicing Channel (FlexE hard slicing and SR+EVPN+H-QoS soft slicing), flexible slice deployment, slice-aware priority scheduling, flow-based measurement iFlow, visible O&M and full lifecycle management.

Slicing Design
Taking into an app's service characteristics and demands into consideration, the ZTE transport network deploys three types of FlexE hard slices based on Slicing Channel: ordinary slice, game acceleration slice and location selection slice to build an exclusive 5G network channel for the app so as to guarantee user and service experience. Hard slices are divided into multiple soft slices through the SR+EVPN+H-QoS soft slicing technology to seamlessly connect with the app's user level system, enabling differentiated segmentation and more complete and sustainable operation services. ZTE and China Unicom have accomplished the intelligent deployment of the whole process of the transport slicing network from design, orchestration, activation to monitoring.

Network Deployment 
For the pilot, ZTE has provided its new generation flagship product ZXCTN 9000-EA series for the core/aggregation layers, which supports 2 Tbps/slot and 4×400GE high-density interfaces, and its new generation large-capacity product ZXCTN 6180H for the access layer, which allows 25G/50G/100G flexible bandwidth networking, FlexE intra-board and cross-board aggregation, and ultra-large bandwidth expansion during the entire 5G lifecycle. Based on ZTE's in-house 3-in-1 chipset, the access layer product has a power consumption of 300+ W in full configuration, and the core/aggregation layer product has less than 0.5 W per gigabit, significantly cutting OPEX.

Slicing Service Deployment 
ZTE's management and control integrated system (ZENIC ONE) first automates slice customization. With the perfect integration of FlexE hard slicing and SR+EVPN+H-QoS soft slicing, it supports one-click automatic slice deployment and provisions services in minutes, realizing fast, efficient deployment of customized manageable network slices. Benefiting from the Slicing Channel technology, the latency of the access-layer device at a single node is less than 5 μs, and that of the core/aggregation layer device at a single node is less than 20 μs, which helps ensure zero packet loss and microsecond-level jitter for exclusive services. 

Slicing O&M
ZTE has innovatively introduced slice-aware priority scheduling and iFlow detection technologies to help the management and control system monitor the network status in real time, realize the industry's fastest millisecond-level flow detection, comprehensively monitor both the control plane and the forwarding plane, and enable fast, accurate fault location and service self-recovery in seconds. The ZENIC ONE system visualizes network O&M, and, based on AI and big data analysis, dynamically tunes the traffic to improve resource utilization by more than 20%. The system makes slice changes, slice resource allocation, and network troubleshooting more flexible, intelligent to raise the O&M efficiency by more than 50%. A collection of leading technologies work together to ensure online changes of end-user subscription information, dynamic network optimization, and exclusive service experience for users of different levels, applications, and locations.

Summary
The success of this pilot deepens the cooperation between ZTE and China Unicom Shenzhen in the pan-entertainment field, and offers a reference for providing end-to-end slice networks for vertical industry applications. Looking into the future, they will continue to explore innovative service models for 5G+ vertical industry applications, jointly build a new 5G ecosystem, and provide consumers with better products and services.

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