Ericsson, Intel and Microsoft have successfully demonstrated end-to-end 5G standalone network slicing capabilities on a Windows laptop. According to Ericsson, this pioneering trial demonstrates the applicability of the technology on devices beyond smartphones, paving the way for new business opportunities for cellular-connected laptops.

Powered by Intel processors and running on Windows 11 (OS), the interoperability development testing (IoDT) carried out recently at the Ericsson Lab in Sweden showed the use of multiple network slices on cellular-connected laptop devices for consumer and enterprise use cases such as mobile gaming and collaboration applications. The network slicing trial utilised user equipment route selection policy (URSP), the capability that enables devices to automatically select between different slices according to which application they are using. It also used Ericsson’s dynamic network slicing selection, Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G core, and Ericsson’s radio access network (RAN) slicing capabilities to secure end-user service differentiation. Together they deliver the required network capabilities for this solution.

As per Ericsson, by demonstrating a single Windows 11 device can make use of multiple slices, which are used according to the on-device usage profiles and network policies defined at the communication service provider (CSP) level, the partners show the flexibility and range of potential use cases available using this technology. This trial illustrates the opportunities for 5G monetisation beyond smartphone devices and opens the door to a wider 5G device ecosystem, allowing CSPs and other members of the telecoms and IT world to expand their horizons when considering opportunities to generate profitable use cases for 5G. 

Further, the company stated that laptop type devices, in particular, are vital to enterprise productivity. The inclusion of Windows 11 laptops in the ranks of devices that can be used for commercialising 5G network slicing is a sign of the ecosystem maturing. Network slicing capabilities will benefit consumer and enterprise segments by defining specific service level agreement per slice for existing and emerging Windows applications and use cases, such as real-time enterprise applications like Microsoft Teams and Office365, game/media streaming, and emerging artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality/extended reality (AR/XR) applications.

Commenting on the development, Sibel Tombaz, head, Product Line 5G RAN, Ericsson, said, “Expanding the range of devices for network slicing to include laptops will allow new business segments to create a variety of use cases for consumer and enterprises. We have shown, together with Intel and Microsoft, how ecosystem collaboration can open new possibilities. We will continue to strengthen Ericsson’s network slicing capabilities and work with industry partners to enable more applications on several devices, spreading the benefits of 5G in the consumer and enterprise segments.”

Meanwhile, Ian LeGrow, corporate vice-president, Core OS Innovation, Microsoft, said, “We are thrilled to showcase our cutting-edge technology and its ability to deliver fast, dependable and secure 5G connectivity on Windows 11. Partnering with Intel and Ericsson only further solidifies our commitment to innovation and openness in our platform.”