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Vodafone UK Trial Cloud Gaming on 5G Standalone Network Slice

Monday, Aug 21st, 2023 (11:52 am) - Score 2,032

Mobile operator Vodafone UK and network supplier Ericsson have today announced that they’ve concluded a successful trial of cloud-based video gaming on their new 5G Standalone (SA) network, which delivered big improvements in gaming performance via mobile broadband (i.e. download / uploads speeds, latency and jitter).

Unlike existing Non-Standalone (NSA) based 5G networks, which dominate the UK market but partly rely on older 4G infrastructure, Standalone (SA) networks are pure end-to-end 5G networks that can also deliver improvements such as ultra-low latency times (fast), better upload speeds, network slicing capabilities, better support for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, increased reliability and security.

NOTE: Network slicing allows for multiple virtual network slices across the same physical network. Each slice is isolated from other network traffic to give dedicated performance, with the features of the slice tailored to the use case requirements. But this may sometimes clash with Net Neutrality.

Vodafone recently became one of the first UK operators to launch a 5G SA network with their new “5G Ultra” package for consumers (here), which is currently only a service that customers can truly benefit from in several locations, including parts of London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, with more cities to follow.

In this case, the 5G SA cloud gaming trial was conducted at Coventry University and enabled gamers to compare their experience with standard mobile gaming. The technology offers customised connectivity services tailored to specific customers and use cases. The trial participants experienced improvements in gaming connectivity, including a 270% increase in download and upload speed, a 25% decrease in latency, and a 57% reduction in jitter.

Phil Patel, Vodafone’s Group Director of Product and Services, said:

“5G Standalone aims to deliver novel services that would not be possible on today’s networks. Few areas can benefit as much as Cloud Gaming, not only to improve customer experience, but to open the door to entirely new types of content. Today, immersive gaming is realistically limited to consoles, but with 5G Standalone, we can bring it to mobile devices.”

During the trial, participants were asked to play cloud-based mobile games under two connectivity scenarios.  Sadly, the operator doesn’t provide us with any solid technical details on the capabilities of their different setups / scenarios, which means you should take this all with a pinch of salt.

  • Scenario A simulated the public network we connect to every day 
  • Scenario B was an isolated 5G Standalone network slice that was optimised for cloud gaming. Scenario B’s network had higher download speeds, lower latency, reduced jitter, and no risk of network congestion. 

Research conducted by Bryter, an independent gaming insights and consultancy agency, revealed some further details: 

  • For Scenario A, 63% of triallists ranked satisfaction between 0/10 and 5/10, with only 13% ranking satisfaction above 8/10. Frustrations included longer loading screen times, non-synchronised sound and visual, and increased lag 
  • For Scenario B, 88% of triallists ranked satisfaction above 8/10. The better gaming experience was due to improved game loading (appealing to those who use gaming to pass time), smoother graphics rendering and reduced lag and jitter (appealing to those who prefer fast-paced games).  

Finally, the operator once again highlighted how the recently proposed merger with Three UK would mean the merged company would have the scale to deliver 5G Standalone to “99% of populated areas by 2034“, delivered via an £11bn investment in the network over the next decade.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar photo APJ says:

    Oh how I (and others) wish Vodafone would focus on reducing the extremely high latency and ping on their FTTP (CityFibre) product: to experience a typical ping of 25-50ms on such a premium fibre to the premises product is not acceptable.

    Even worse is to pretend there isn’t such an issue, when your customers will tell you otherwise…and have done for years with Vodafone ignoring the issue.

    1. Avatar photo x_term says:

      A typical ping of 25-50ms… To where?
      Latency is a measure that is influenced by the distance between you and the server, so of course saying to where is fundamental.

    2. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Vodafone haven’t routed their traffic based on Geography, You could be in Devon and exiting their network in Edinburgh. This is why Voda users are seeing high latency for an FTTP Product. Has been going on for some time and there seems to be little interest in fixing it.

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