PARTNER CONTENT: Since the first deployment of commercial LTE in 2009, LTE coverage has reached 75% of the global population. There are 2.8 billion LTE subscribers around the world, which is currently more than that reported for GSM or UMTS. LTE is now emerging as the most popular wireless communications technology. As the 5G era is fast approaching, how to perform LTE network evolution and how to expand new businesses have arisen as a common concern throughout the industry.
At the Huawei Global Analyst Summit (HAS) 2018 on April 18, Chuanfei Chen, Vice President of Huawei LTE Product Line(FDD domain), delivered a speech entitled “All Business Connected @LTE”, which envisions LTE evolution trends. Chuanfei Chen mentioned that LTE’s further evolution will be driven by business expansion and technology innovation. LTE networks will further expand capacity, increase data rates, and reduce latency. LTE evolution will enable All Business Connected era, benefiting the business of all verticals. LTE is set to embrace an illustrious new decade of prosperity.
Building A Fully Connected Smart Society Is Incubating Broad Business Opportunities.
With MBB prevailing into every aspect of people’s lives via ubiquitous connections, LTE is introducing drastic changes to a full range of industries, helping to enable and advance the construction of a smart society.
WTTx has enabled network access for 50 million households around the globe and helped nearly 200 million people receive mobile Internet services, including remote education, entertainment, business, and other applications. It is estimated that by the end of 2018 the number of new WTTx lines added outside China will reach 20 million. New WTTx users will outnumber new FTTx users, bridging the digital divide in areas with insufficient broadband availability.
C-IoT connects the unconnected and serves the entire society. In 2017, C-IoT was commercially applied in smart energy, smart transportation, smart city, and other required fields. In 2018, this technology will expand into more fields, with the number of connections expected to reach 150 million.
LiTRA helps accelerate the digital transformation in the area of public safety, which greatly improves the public security level while ensuring additional safety in terms of people’s lives and property. LiTRA has already been widely adopted in countries including the UK, Spain, Peru, Kuwait and Turkey.
LTE-V effectively guarantees driving safety and improves traffic management efficiency. Since the 3GPP LTE-V standards were frozen in Q2 2017, test spectrums for LTE-V2X have been released in China, and that schedule in Europe is in planning. LTE-V joint tests have been conducted in German and China (in Shanghai and Wuxi). It is inevitable that commercial LTE-V applications will soon arrive and can be considered just around the corner.
The in-depth integration between communications technologies and various industries drives digital transformation and creates business opportunities for both operators and vertical industries. Facing the opportunities of smart transformation throughout society, LTE-based All Business applications are predominantly booming.
According to Chuanfei Chen’s speech, all of these developments are supported by three key facts. First, a great number of traditional industries are experiencing accelerated digital transformation, and various industries have undertaken information-based, intelligent reconstructions using communications technologies. This opens up a huge range of unique business opportunities for many operators. Second, networks are undergoing a revolutionary transformation from providing people-to-people communications services to specifically serving various industries. Operators are actively exploring blue ocean markets and exploiting network value for maximum potential benefits. Third, LTE networks are capable of enabling a full range of services, and vertical markets will be extensively researched in the upcoming 5G era. Operators will carry out business innovations and practices based on LTE networks to develop capabilities for advanced preparations in building business models and ecosystems, ensuring comprehensive competitiveness in the 5G era.
LTE Technologies and Standards Continue to Evolve to Provide All Business Capabilities.
LTE networks have been greatly enhanced in terms of peak rate, capacity, latency, and connectivity. These networks comply with the IMT-2020 standards and can enable a full range of services.
5G multi-antenna technologies, such as massive MIMO, TM9, and 4R, are applied on the LTE networks to improve LTE capacity evolution capability and meet the increasing requirements of basic MBB services.
The multi-antenna technologies together with WTTX3.0 outdoor CPEs and the WTTx Suite significantly improve WBB spectral efficiency (3 to 5 fold that of common MBB terminals). In addition, services applied with such technologies and tools can develop many useful strengths (well-organized, manageable, and controllable). WTTx has proven to be a successful business model in Japan, Germany, and numerous other countries. The LTE-based home broadband has also been acknowledged as an industry-wide standard by the ITU.
C-IoT has outperformed LoRa and GPRS in terms of network capacity, power consumption, and coverage. LPWA services, involving uplink data reporting, downlink control, and mobile communications, have been verified during large-scale commercial use. As specified in 3GPP R16, LPWA use cases will continue to be addressed by evolving NB-IoT and eMTC, no NR based solution will be studied or specified for the LPWA use cases.
Short latency technologies such as short TTI defined in 3GPP R15 will support 1 ms one-way transmission delay and 2 ms roundtrip transmission delay on the air interface. Using short latency technologies, real-time services such as mobile gaming, VR, and remote control can provide a better user experience.
The LTE-V technology has been developing relatively well. In 2018, Huawei will launch LTE-V chips, roadside units, and terminals like T-box and V2X servers. 3GPP also specifies that LTE-V2X will be a top priority to complement future 5G-V2X.
The continuous evolution of LTE technologies and stemming industrial opportunities are driving forces behind the constant expansion of the LTE All Business ecosystem. New services, such as mobile gaming and drones are coming into view, which serves to inject new vitality into long-term LTE development.
Huawei Releases a Capacity Evolution Solution Developed Based on SingleRAN Pro to Enhance the Foundation Network.
In the coming decade, evolved LTE networks, with specific advantages of coverage, terminals, subscribers, and the ecosystem, will be the main carrier for existing mobile services and basis for service innovation. As service demands for network traffic rise, LTE networks will have to handle a huge amount of traffic, several times what they handle today. LTE is in urgent need of continuous evolution to arise as a genuine All Business Connected network.
HAS 2018 witnessed the announcement for the launch of a spectral efficiency and capacity improvement solution (developed based on SingleRAN Pro) to embrace the industry’s increasingly demanding service traffic requirements. This solution aims to increase network capacity by several fold without adding extra sites or spectrum resources. Spectral efficiency is vastly improved by the introduction of the multi-sector and multi-antenna technologies. The solution improves spectral efficiency and network capacity by dividing the networks into three different scenarios with each applying different technologies. FDD 4T4R or TDD 8T8R is used on the basic capacity layer; FDD 4T6S (four transmit antennas and six sectors) or TDD 8T8R(Soft Split) is used on the hotspot capacity layer; and massive MIMO is used on the ultra-hotspot capacity layer.
FDD 4T4R is a basic configuration for LTE. It can be deployed network wide to help shape a large capacity MBB foundation network that provides extensive coverage. FDD 4T4R uses multi-antenna diversity and multiplexing technologies to improve coverage, capacity, and user experience. Network capacity can further be increased as 4R terminals become more popular. 4R has been a popular configuration for high-end smartphones and will be start point for 5G terminals. Operators with TDD spectrum can also use TDD 8T8R to provide basic or enhanced capacity layer.
FDD 4T6S is the optimal solution for improving capacity at hotspots. Sector splitting is used to divide the existing three sectors of a base station into six 4T4R sectors, which doubles the air interface resources and significantly improves network capacity. For operators with TDD spectrum, soft split can be applied to TDD 8T8R to split three 8T8R TDD sectors into six sectors. This further improves network capacity without the need to add extra hardware.
Massive MIMO, with its beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies, allows multiple pairs of UEs to share the same air interface resources. Network capacity can be expanded 3- to 5-fold over what 2T2R cells can provide. The growth can reach 6.5 times 2T2R capacity when the network evolves to 3GPP Release 14.
In addition to the solution for promoting capacity evolution utilizing multi-sector and multi-antenna technologies, Huawei provides scenario-based site solutions to meet diversified capacity and coverage improvement demands. For example, Huawei’s portfolio includes integrated macro base stations (TubeStar), suburban pole base stations (PoleStar), and base stations for precise rural coverage (RuralStar) and small cell (Book RRU).
All Business Connected @LTE Based on SingleRAN Pro Lays a Foundation for Future Business Landscape.
The approaching 5G era requires operators to be fully prepared in terms of infrastructure, ecosystem, business models, operational capabilities, and other aspects. All business connected @LTE is an important milestone along the way towards 5G. The delivery of such a network, business models, and practices in this regard will lay a solid foundation for business success in the 5G era while helping to meet today’s increasing service requirements.