PARTNER CONTENT: Underneath the vibrant skyline of Hangzhou, the city is pulsating with anticipation as it prepares to host the 19th Asian Games in September. Beyond a celebration of sports, the event is also a grand display of cutting-edge technology. One of the highlights is the demonstration of 5G-Advanced (5G-A) technologies. This technological leap has been made possible through a joint effort by China Telecom Zhejiang Branch and ZTE Corporation. Together, they have achieved a significant milestone by successfully completing service verification of several 5G-A technologies, such as RIS (Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface) and ISAC (Integrated Sensing and Communication) for the Asian Games.

5G-A: The Next Generation Network

The 5G-A network, with its dual-10Gbps capability, promises an immersive viewing experience for the Asian Games. The network leverages state-of-the-art 1.6GHz bandwidth radio units, developed by ZTE, to support multiple 8K video live broadcasts simultaneously. This ensures real-time streaming of the games for tens of thousands of viewers and live broadcasters. The peak downlink rate reaches an impressive 25Gbps, showcasing the superior network experience that 5G-A offers.

5G-A Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface (RIS), Achieving High-rate Seamless Coverage

One of the most ground-breaking aspects of 5G-A is the incorporation of Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface (RIS) technology. RIS is a new multi-antenna technology derived from electromagnetic hypermaterials. With low cost and low power consumption, it is regarded as one of the key technologies in 5G-A and 6G phases. By optimizing base station signal propagation and beam control, 5G signal quality can be improved and base station coverage can be expanded. When signal from base station transmits from the top of the building opposite to the stadium, the RIS board can receive signals on the ground and reflect the signals to weak coverage area, with adjustable angle to achieve seamless network coverage. In addition, RIS deployment is very flexible, whichever area requires seamless coverage, RIS board can be moved there anytime.

Said the head of China Telecom’s Smart Asian Games project, “We can use RIS to expand base station coverage by intelligently reflecting or transmitting base station signals, improving coverage area by more than 30%.”

Together with ZTE, China Telecom Zhejiang Branch has completed commercial RIS verification in Asian Games Village, achieving 10Gbps network coverage for blind spots in typical scenarios of underground garages and stores. The measured data shows that, after RIS deployed, UE downlink rate is increased by 6 times and uplink rate by 20 times, while the cost of RIS is only one tenth of that of small cells. In addition, when user moves within garage and store, the dynamic RIS reflection beam can always accurately track the user in real time, with stable signal strength and user rate.

ISAC (Integrated Sensing and Communication), Facilitating Low-altitude Intelligent Security Inspection

5G-A also powers intelligent inspection capabilities to enhance venue security and management. ISAC equips base stations with radar-like perception capabilities, effectively sensing drones, people, vehicles, and objects.

China Telecom Zhejiang Branch and ZTE jointly implemented the application verification of low-altitude drone control by using a single ISAC AAU device in Asian Games Village. In the verification, the perception distance of AAU based on the 5G-A network can reach 1000m, with distance precision achieving sub-meter level. The AAU can sense flight path of a drone in real time, and alert when the drone fly close to a warning area, thereby greatly ensuring low-altitude safety of the Asian Games.

“Bullet Time” Video Highlights for Detailed Game Watching

Walk into the badminton stadium, twenty 4K high-definition cameras are lined up in the bleacher area, while one VR camera is placed next to the net from referee’s perspective. Every moment of a player can be frozen and played back from 360 degrees, generating “bullet time”. With this,  audience can see more details of the game, and it can also assist referees to give fairer and more accurate judgment.

Behind the bleacher area, a technician is manipulating the moments captured by twenty cameras and generating a “bullet time” playback in 5 to 10 seconds. However, the real-time processing of 4K high-definition video poses great challenges to the telecommunication network and computing power. With 5G-A 10Gbps network introduced, real-time “bullet time” playback is realized.

VR and Naked-3D Tablet, 5G-A for Immersive Game Watching

In the past, immersive game watching experience was not as good as expected due to network delay. With the support of the 5G-A technologies and dual-10Gbps network, China Telecom Zhejiang Branch provides telecommunication network services with a latency of less than 100 ms for Asian Games, which makes applications such as VR and naked-eye 3D become reality.

The Asian Games tickets are always difficult to obtain. With VR glasses, people could enjoy VIP game watching experience without going to the stadium, and can even watch the game freely from 360 degrees. For example, when watching a volleyball match remotely, the audience could select one out of four angles of view, while from the referee angle, one could see the attack and defense moments, and from the net angle, one could see blocking moments.

At China Telecom Command Center of the Asian Games, the world’s first naked-eye 3D tablet from ZTE is also displayed, which can be used to watch 3D videos without wearing glasses.

45000 Daily Step Counts to Guarantee Network, While AR Devices Dome to Help

During the Asian Games, the Village will host more than 30000 attendants. With an area of 1.13 square kilometers, more than 33000 telecommunication equipment are operating and need to be maintained. “Once the network fails, we need to recover it within 15 minutes. Our engineers and technicians sometimes take more than 45000 steps every day.” Said the head of China Telecom’s Smart Asian Games project.

To reduce the difficulty of onsite inspection and maintenance, China Telecom Zhejiang Branch introduces AR patrol inspection in the Asian Games Village. In a dedicated equipment room, a inspector wears AR glasses and pinches his finger against the air to break down the cabinet model and locate the fault. For difficult faults that cannot be solved on site, AR glasses will post back images to back-end experts who will guide and solve problems in real time, which greatly reducing the workload of manual maintenance and improving troubleshooting efficiency.

The unveiling of these 5G-A technologies at the Asian Games is a significant step towards the future of digital communication. Today, forward-thinking companies like China Telecom and ZTE are at the forefront of promoting 5G-A technology innovations, including RIS and ISAC, to deliver a world-leading wireless network experience for mobile users.

This is an exciting time in the development of telecommunications technology. 5G-A represents more than just a leap forward in speed and connectivity; it signals a paradigm shift in the way people live, work and play. As we look forward to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, we are not just anticipating a sporting spectacle, but also a glimpse into the future of connectivity.