Keynote presenter: Mr. Peter Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei Wireless Solution
Accelerating 4.5G Evolution, Establishing 5G Ecosystem in Advance, Network Innovation Giving 5G Greater Vitality
[Shanghai, China, June 30] During the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Shanghai, Huawei elaborated upon the idea of “Network Innovation Leads the Roads to 5G”. This idea aims to achieve the target of 5G by accelerating the continuous evolution of 4.5G and exploring new business opportunities. 4.5G evolution constantly enhances network capabilities and enables diverse applications, such as home broadband, connected cars, and Internet of Things (IoT). Huawei appealed to the entire industry to initially build a 5G ecosystem from now on and promote the adoption of innovative technologies into 3GPP unified specification for the greater vitality of 5G.
The mobile communications industry is at a critical juncture with the rapid development of 4G and imminent arrival of 5G. To sustain an expedited level of development, the entire industry is highly encouraged to implement the following actions:
Accelerate 4.5G Evolution & Explore New Business Opportunities
Well-established 4G networks have allowed global telecom operators to achieve business success and improve data operation. The wireless industry requires the continual advancement of 4G to lay a solid foundation for 5G target networks. Huawei advocates continuous evolution of 4.5G to preliminarily introduce new technologies and develop new business models. Home broadband, connected cars, IoT, and many more applications require higher network capabilities, such as large bandwidth, low latency, and massive connections. User habit development, ecosystem aggregation, and new business model exploration are key practices before the advent of 5G.
2T2R serves as a basic configuration in the 4G era, while 4T4R has been extensively recognized as the basic configuration for 5G networks by standards organizations and industry players. Huawei, Samsung, and other high-end mobile device providers currently use 4-receive antennas for 4G mobile phones to significantly increase user data rate. Over 60 global operators have completed large-scale deployment of commercial 4T4R networks. Massive MIMO is one of the most important 5G technologies selected to increase spectral efficiency by over 5 times and provide a superior user experience. Meanwhile, Huawei has proactively pursued the initiative to deploy 4T4R and Massive MIMO in 4.5G networks to help develop new business models.
The deployment of Massive MIMO in hotspots and large-scale deployment of 4T4R significantly increase data rate to 1Gbps. This helps satisfy network requirements of live video, mobile gaming, VR/AR, and other innovative services. New technologies enable wireless home broadband to connect more households at lower costs and help operators accelerate return on investment (ROI). Such technologies will help 1.3 billion households remaining inaccessible to home broadband, with 300 million requesting higher network speeds.
Voice is a basic service since the 1G era. The large-scale commercial use of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) accelerates network exit of legacy radio access technologies (RATs) and increases network O&M efficiency. An increasing number of VoLTE-based services have emerged, such as screen and camera sharing during a call and freehand sketches. With the escalated commercial deployment of VoLTE, 2016 witnessed deployment of 60 new networks, exceeding the total number recorded in previous years.
Over 80% of mobile data traffic is generated in indoor scenarios. However, unsatisfactory indoor user experience results in potential traffic revenue loss. The LampSite indoor digital solution sharply improves user experience and increases data revenue, while developing new indoor digital economy (smart shopping malls and smart metro, etc).
Establish 5G Ecosystem from 4G Era
Huawei Wireless X Labs is an open cross-industry innovation platform dedicated to the exploration of future-oriented technologies and business opportunities. This platform integrates excellent resources from third-party industries, expanding industry boundaries through proactive participation in the 5G ecosystem. Up till now, X Labs has attracted 186 global partners and launched 45 joint innovation projects with the release of 17 white papers. Huawei is engaged in further cooperation with partners to explore 5G use cases in multiple domains with a keen focus on network requirements and new business models. During the MWC, Wireless X Labs announced the formation of the advisory committee composed of distinguished representatives from data and artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, automobile manufacturing, drones, and other sectors. This committee aims to promote cross-industry collaboration for the creation of effective solutions targeting mobile communications.
The rapid development of drones will promote the shift from ground to air communication. Connected drones are expected to be a new type of mainstream mobile terminals. Wireless X Labs has completed drone tests regarding remote control aviation and image transmission based on a cellular network. Low-altitude network coverage using a drone is under research and network planning. As defined in 3GPP specifications, low-altitude network coverage must achieve low air interface latency (< 50 ms), a high uplink data rate (> 50 Mbps), and high reliability (> 99.999%). The test result shows that current low-altitude LTE coverage struggles to meet these strict requirements. 5G is set to guarantee required performance necessary for future three-dimensional transportation networks.
AR/VR is experiencing in-depth innovation. Wireless X Labs and industry partners are jointly conducting research on cloud VR. They plan to use cloud-based action processing and video rendering to lower terminal requirements for computing capabilities and graphics cards. The objective is to eventually reduce terminal costs and improve user experience. The research result shows that cloud VR requires large bandwidth (280 Mbps to 9.4 Gbps) and low latency (5 ms). 5G proves to be an ideal solution to cloud VR. Artificial intelligent (AI) helmets help visually challenged individuals to perform routine tasks (such as safe travel and shopping). This technology demands cloud-based visual identification and precise remote control, which require a minimum of 10 Mbit/s of uplink bandwidth and latency below 20 ms.
With the upcoming smart manufacturing era that features both general and customized manufacturing, Wireless X Labs founded a smart manufacturing interest group to conduct research and tests on 5G use cases. Future smart factories enforce the need cloud-based computing capabilities to eliminate computing hosts for each mechanically operated arm, coupled with latency below 5 ms. This significantly reduces cost and increases efficiency. Industrial cameras require image transmission and identification to be completed within one second. This requires latency below 100 ms or even 10 ms, as well as bandwidths ranging from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. Connected automated guided vehicle (AGV) can transport materials from a warehouse to a specified location, requesting 10 ms of latency and high-density deployment of intelligent scheduling.
5G applications will far exceed people’s imagination. 4G-based Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is undoubtedly the best practice for a fundamental foundation for 5G-based IoT. The extensive exploration of commercial NB-IoT use cases will attract more industries to create additional use cases on mobile networks. The current NB-IoT industry chain has grown increasingly mature. GSMA NB-IoT forum has attracted over 500 members. Seven NB-IoT networks have been commercially deployed, covering smart meter reading, parking, street lamps, agriculture, and a diverse range of other fields. The eager exploration of commercial NB-IoT is laying a key underlying foundation for a prosperous future 5G ecosystem.
Adopt Innovative Technologies for Greater Vitality of 5G
The promising vision of 5G aims to build a unified network to enable all-industry digitization, innovative applications, and new business models while enhancing overall productivity. The entire industry must innovate and adopt revolutionary technologies for the proliferation of 5G.
Huawei is endeavoring to promote a unified standard of 5G in accordance with 3GPP architectures. With accelerated 5G standardization, this first 5G standard compliant with 3GPP specifications is scheduled for completion by June 2018.
Meanwhile, Huawei is currently engaged in revolutionary technical research to secure a leading competitive edge in 5G over an extended lifecycle. Compared with 4G, 5G is able to increase data transmission rate by 100 times, reduce latency by nearly 5 times, provide ms-level connections with high reliability, and increase connection quantity per unit area by hundreds of times.
5G networks will incorporate multiple frequency bands to comprehensive leverage spectrum resources and enhance competitiveness. The 3.5 GHz band can provide sufficient bandwidths for global roaming and serve as the main capacity and coverage layer for 5G. However, limited uplink coverage radius will deteriorate cell-edge user experience due to severely unbalanced power and channels between a mobile device and base station. Huawei innovatively proposes the uplink and downlink decoupling solution to lift the restriction of a single band for both the uplink and downlink, with specific low frequency bands designated for uplink transmission. As a result, uplink and downlink coverage are balanced, which guarantees large-capacity and high-speed user experience. During the 3GPP 5G standardization conference, this solution has received extensive recognition. 3GPP is formulating detailed plans to incorporate uplink and downlink decoupling into the 5G standard. This will be a milestone in forming a flexible and state-of-the-art 5G standard.
End-to-end (E2E) network slicing is an optimal choice that builds a single 5G network to meet divergent demands and provide diverse services for vertical industries, such as connected cars and industrial control. This enables all-industry digital upgrades and helps to fulfill the vision of 5G. Huawei was the first to complete5G E2E network slicing during the second-phase IMT-2020 (5G) network technology R&D test performed in Huairou District, Beijing. The test result demonstrated how network slicing facilitates multiple services with massive connections (over 4 million in a single cell), ultra-large bandwidth (single-user downlink throughput > 6 Gbps, cell peak rate > 18 Gbps), high reliability, and low latency (air interface latency < 0.5 ms). The final results proved important to highlight significant performance far exceeding ITU’s high 5G requirements.
Peter Zhou, Huawei Wireless Network CMO, highlighted that, “Huawei is committed to accelerating 4.5G evolution, improving network capabilities, and creating new business opportunities to build competitiveness of 5G in advance for telecom operators. We appeal to the entire industry to establish a 5G ecosystem from now on and build a 3GPP-based unified 5G specification with innovative technologies for all-industry digitalization and the greater vitality of 5G.”