At its pre-Mobile World Congress briefing this week (24 February 2015) for analysts and media held in London, Huawei further outlined its 4.5G strategy and supporting technologies. The briefing showcased the latest industry applications for 4.5G, and speakers outlined their vision of a 4.5G “business blueprint” for mobile operators in the near future.
The event built on Huawei’s initial 4.5G announcement unveiled in late October 2014, where the company highlighted the need for a further evolution of the LTE standard prior to 5G becoming a commercial reality.
In the next five years Huawei said it believes the user experience enabled by mobile will become much more immersive. For example, virtual reality and new applications such as smart metering, and drone technology will begin to enter into people’s regular work and life environments. 4.5G represents the necessary enhancement to the mobile network in terms of capacity, connection number and latency, to make these intelligent applications possible.
During the London briefing, Bob Cai, VP of Marketing, Huawei Wireless Network Product Line, detailed the opportunities enabled by 4.5G through several demos highlighting the ways 4.5 can improve the network. “4.5G is a natural evolution of LTE, and supports new business opportunities and an improved user experience through enhancement of the mobile network’s capacity and capability.
“This in turn will transition our industry into an all online world with ultra-high speed massive connections and low latency, allowing all of us to be fully prepared for the large-scale arrival of applications for cellular IoT.”
Huawei believes 4.5G will help stimulate the increasing popularity of many technologies such as mobile virtual reality glasses, smart metering and drones:
4.5G can deliver up to 1Gbps bandwidth on mobile networks, making mobile virtual reality possible and this immersive experience available everywhere. Virtual reality glasses provide an immersive HD experience, but the bandwidth requirement can be as high as 1Gbps, 4.5G will be capable of meeting this requirement.
4.5G will make cellular IoT a reality. Industry applications such as smart metering require low-power terminals and better network coverage. While LTE is mainly designed to handle smart phone capacity, which is unable to reach a large scale, 4.5G supports up to 100K per cell connections via LTE-M, 100 times that of 4G. LTE-M also provides better coverage (receivers require just 1/100th of the signal of existing 2G system, 20dB gain) using low-power terminals (10 year battery life).
Industry 4.0 requires lower latency between command and execution. For example, the precision control of a drone requires at least a 20ms end-to-end latency. 4.5G as a key component of Industry 4.0 provides the capability of less than 10ms end-to-end latency, opening the door for large-scale commercialisation of real-time mobile applications.
According to Cai, Huawei expects 4.5G to be deployed commercially by as soon as 2016: “In the next five years, 4.5G will accelerate incredible industry wide developments, create new and exciting business opportunities, and provide the ultimate user experience.”