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Network Slicing in 5G Systems

Feature Topic


Network slicing has evolved from a simple network overlay concept to a fundamental feature of the emerging 5G systems enabling dynamic multi-service support, multi-tenancy and the integration means for vertical market players. Network slicing can drastically transform the networking perspective by abstracting, isolating and separating logical network behaviors from the underlying physical network resources. Network operators, can exploit network slicing for reducing capital and operations expenditures, allowing also programmability and innovation, necessary to enrich the offered services from simple communications services to a wider range of business services. The separation of different functions by abstractions (e.g. radio resources from packet processing) simplifies the integration challenges especially for applications supporting vertical industries beyond telecommunications. 

Network slicing in 5G systems may be performed by abstracting different physical infrastructures into a logical network that contains shared resources, such as radio spectrum or dedicated core network equipment, and virtual network functions obtained by breaking down single physical equipment into multiple instances, which are isolated from each other. Virtualization of network functions allow to decouple network node functions from proprietary hardware appliances in order to create distinct building blocks that can be flexibly chained to create communication services.

The notion of resources in 5G network slicing includes network, compute and storage capacity resources; virtualized network functions; shared physical resources; and radio resources. Service designers can select the optimal control/user plane split, as well as compose and allocate virtualized network functions at particular locations inside the core or radio access network depending on the service requirements. The creation and management of network slicing is a challenging process that poses new problems in service instantiation and orchestration, resource allocation/sharing and assignment procedures as well as network virtualization technologies.

Existing open source, industry and standards developments have given shape to the initial perception of a 5G network slice, while further research activities aim to enhance such new evolving concept by exploring its full potential. The so-called 5G network slice fully supports a particular communication service exploiting the principles of software-defined networks and network function virtualization in order to fulfill the business and regulatory requirements.  The achieved networking and service flexibility enables a radical change, beyond network sharing, enabling different mobile operators to offer tailored services and means for network programmability to OTT providers and or vertical market players.

Scope of Submissions

Original contributions are invited on the latest advancements on network slicing for 5G systems considering architecture, network management, orchestration and mechanisms that enable virtualization and multi-tenancy. The topics of interest within the scope of this issue include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Network Slicing architectures and deployment practices
  • Network slicing and multi-tenancy support in service overlay networks
  • Network function (de)composition and allocation considering “atomic” functions
  • QoE support management mechanisms in network slices  
  • Multi-service and multi-connectivity network slicing
  • Next generation of orchestration architectures combining SDN and NFV
  • Network resource programmability and developments on the Northbound-APIs
  • Mobile Edge Computing and service optimization
  • Network slicing and backhaul /fronthaul mechanisms
  • Network slicing for converged fixed-wireless 5G networks


Konstantinos Samdanis
NEC Europe, Germany

Steven Wright
AT&T Services, US

Albert Banchs
UC3M, Spain

Antonio Capone
Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Mehmet Ulema
Manhattan College, US

Kazuaki Obana
NTT Docomo, Japan