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The need for 5G network slicing in Public Safety


The need for 5G network slicing in Public Safety

5G network slicing aims to add efficiency, capacity, high bandwidth and customization to the complicated Public Safety digital Services, where high speed connectivity is emerging.

This article aims to build on the top of my previous one with the title “Critical Communications: An intro to the evolution of analog to digital Fire Services” which offered a preliminary analysis and introduction to the need for enhanced digital services.
Although DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) and TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) sound more familiar to Public Services, and are already in use, from a technological perspective there is an emerging trend to connect to a fast broadband network such as the 5G and resolve many sensitive issues. A 5G network is capable of minimizing the total cost of network infrastructure, as multiple logical networks are on the same physical infrastructure, lowering the initial cost of network setup and maximizing system performance and efficiency. 

Network slicing adds to that efficiency, with Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technologies. As such when dividing a single physical network into various logical networks, then each can provide services tailored to a separate application. Fifth-generation network slices are proved to be flexible and highly adaptable and they can handle a variety of services. Network slicing customizes each slice for each service by devoting the right resources to each slice. The service associated with each network slice determines the resources required for that slice. Network slicing is done based on the necessary characteristics needed in each slice, such as:

  1.  Isolation, virtualizing resources with a shared physical resource.
  2.  Customization, ensure that dedicated resources satisfy the services’ needs
  3.  Programmability, control of the resources available in the slices
  4.  Automation, automated slicing based on the user’s information regarding latency and capacity
  5.  Flexibility, changing the amount and type of resources allocated to each slice when necessary.

Many operators, such as Verizon, are preparing to use standalone (SA) 5G technology to offer network slicing services, targeting governments and public safety customers. There are several benefits when adapting that solution, such as dynamic policies to subscribe to low-latency services and adding more bandwidth, which is a game-changer. Drone communications is an example of the type of application that could use 5G network slices since they require high-speed, low-latency services alongside encrypted connections.

The 5G network slicing advantages are various, as high capacity and low latency should enable the deployment of dedicated emergency slices for first responders and public safety professionals. Three different public safety services could benefit from dedicated network slices:

  1. mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT)
  2.  mission-critical data
  3.  mission-critical video

The future is here for 5G Slicing and Public Safety Professional since a recent survey from Heavy Reading revealed that 8% of operator respondents reported that they’ve already started the implementation and testing of network slicing. Governments need to start thinking and planning new digital services for their Blue Forces through studies that aim to efficiency and performance bit also workers’ safety changing the today’s landscape.


  1. When to launch 5G network slicing https://www.lightreading.com/5g/when-to-launch-5g-network-slicing (2022)
  2. Chochliouros, I.P., Spiliopoulou, A.S., Lazaridis, P.I. et al. 5G for the Support of Public Safety Services. Wireless Pers Commun 120, 2321–2348 (2021).
  3. Othman, A., Nayan, N.A. Efficient admission control and resource allocation mechanisms for public safety communications over 5G network slice. Telecommun Syst 72, 595–607 (2019)
  4. Othman A and N. A. Nayan, “Public Safety Mobile Broadband System: From Shared Network to Logically Dedicated Approach Leveraging 5G Network Slicing,” in IEEE Systems Journal, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 2109-2120, (2021)
  5. Pérez , M. G.  A. Huertas Celdrán, F. J. García Clemente and G. Martínez Pérez, “Review and Open Challenges of Public Safety Networks to Manage Emergency Settings in 5G,” 2020 17th International Conference on Electrical Engineering/Electronics, Computer, Telecommunications and Information Technology (ECTI-CON), Phuket, Thailand,  pp. 555-558, (2020)
  6. Rahmanian G, H. S. Shahhoseini and A. H. J. Pozveh, “A Review of Network Slicing in 5G and Beyond: Intelligent Approaches and Challenges,” 2021 ITU Kaleidoscope: Connecting Physical and Virtual Worlds (ITU K), Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 1-8,(2021)
  7. Paladin Z., E. Kočan, Ž. Lukšić, N. Kapidani, M. -A. Kourtis and M. C. Batistatos, “5G for Mission Critical Communications: RESPOND-A Project Experiences,” 2023 22nd International Symposium INFOTEH-JAHORINA (INFOTEH), East Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, pp. 1-5, (2023)
  8. Volk M. and J. Sterle, “5G Experimentation for Public Safety: Technologies, Facilities and Use Cases,” in IEEE Access, vol. 9, pp. 41184-41217, (2021)




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