China Unicom Beijing worked with Huawei to deploy more than 1,000 next-generation active antenna units (AAUs) at rural 5G sites, part of the operator’s strategy to boost coverage and performance outside urban areas.

Huawei claimed the network increased coverage 40 per cent and generated 38 per cent more traffic per site. It also increased data rates by 10 per cent and reduced energy consumption by 5 per cent compared with the previous version

The MetaAAUs are Huawei’s third-generation 5G AAU and employ its “extreme-large antenna array to double the scale of arrays compared with the previous-generation AAU”, it stated.

Coverage is boosted “because channel beams are narrower and energy is more focused” it added.

China Unicom Beijing explained it used the units to achieve 2022 5G construction targets for small towns and rural areas.

Fan Liqun, head of China Unicom Beijing’s 5G co-construction and sharing work team, stated MetaAAUs are a vital part of its digital village strategy. “We have explored various scenarios based on high bandwidth and iteratively adopted innovative Massive MIMO technologies to ensure the best possible 5G and digital experience for our customers.”

In November 2021, Huawei introduced MetaAAUs featuring 384 antenna elements, twice as many as a traditional AAU.