Huawei showcased a wide range of new technologies designed to pave the way to the next generation 5G standard and announced a number of partnerships with mobile operators and industry partners at Mobile World Congress 2016 (22-25 February).
The company said it has established partnerships with more than 20 mobile operators as it seeks to develop the 5G next generation of wireless technology. Partners include CMCC, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, NTT DOCOMO, Telefonica, TeliaSonera and Etisalat, and 10 industry partners, spanning in Asia, Europe, and North America.
At MWC 2016, Huawei jointly showcased new solutions, which it believes will be appropriate to 5G (although the standard is not expected to be finalised until 2019) including:
- 5G new radio access technologies (5G New RAT) in a large scale field trial with NTT DOCOMO
- 5G full duplex radio technology with China Mobile
- 5G mobile architecture for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) applications with Vodafone
- Extreme fast 5G mmWave technology at 70Gbps transmission speed, and end-to-end network slicing technologies with Deutsche Telekom.
In addition, Huawei collaborated with equipment vendor partners to validate 5G technologies, for example, with Rohde Schwarz to demonstrate the 5G new waveform technologies, and with Cobham Wireless, to demonstrate the 5G grant free access technologies at MWC 2016.
Huawei also launched a number of programmes with vertical industries to explore the 5G-enabled machine type of communications such as massive sensors connectivity, URLLC with applications of self-drive-car and cloud controlled-robot.
Huawei’s Dr. Wen Tong said that the company is addressing some of the most challenging areas in 5G technologies, namely:
- the new air-interface with capability to meet all the requirement for the 5G applications
- the programmable application-driven-network architecture built on the cloud-native platform
- a holistic set of the new capabilities to enable the vertical applications for emerging 5G services and applications.
Tong said: ‘In addition, we are excited to participate in the recent announcement of a series China Mobile 5G technologies field trials to contribute our effort to commercial 5G launch in 2020.’
As part of its partnership with China Mobile, Huawei introduced a number of solutions at MWC 2016, including 4.5G (TDD+), Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT), and network slicing.
Massive MIMO and Distributed MIMO
Among the 4.5G (TDD+) core technologies are Massive MIMO and Distributed MIMO technologies designed to improve network capacity and the user experience. These technologies are being included in the LTE Advanced Pro standard – the further evolution of LTE-Advanced, but they are considered important buildings blocks for 5G too.
Huawei and China Mobile jointly launched a Massive MIMO solution in 2014 and the two have since verified that this solution works in urban hotspot areas requiring intensive coverage in Shanghai and other cities in 2015.
The Massive MIMO solution features a 128T128R antenna system with a downlink throughput exceeding 650 Mbit/s and a bandwidth of 20 MHz per carrier. The manifold improvement in spectral efficiency overcomes obstacles in site location acquisition and user experience enhancement.
The DMIMO solution was also showcased at MWC 2016 and is designed to overcome capacity bottlenecks in high-traffic areas. This user-centric solution maximises network efficiency, while delivering the best user experience the network conditions can support.
As 4.5G (TDD+) core technologies Massive MIMO and DMIMO support all mainstream 4G bands and existing 4G terminals.
5G network architecture evolution and network slicing
Huawei also joined China Mobile's other partners in demonstrating the Telecom Integrated Cloud (TIC) solution at China Mobile's NovoNET exhibit, including Huawei's vEPC, which operates on general server units using virtualization technologies, and demonstrations of the automation network deployment and management.
Different industry applications have different demands on mobile networks. Collectively, they will drive the evolution of network architecture toward a future Service-Oriented Core (SOC) that makes rapid deployment of any networks possible. At China Mobile's 5G exhibit, Huawei demonstrated the implementation of SOC-based E2E network slicing to meet the demands of the massive service volume.
For example, the Internet of Vehicles automates driving by slashing latencies; virtual reality video slicing enables transmission of a large number of such videos using ultra-high bandwidths. In addition to providing data and digital services for individual users, operators will be able to sell network slices to vertical industries for new profits streams.
5G E2E network slicing technology demo with Deutsche Telekom
At MWC 2016, Huawei and Deutsche Telekom showcased a 5G E2E network slicing demonstration. The joint demo was conducted in Deutsche Telekom’s 5G:haus lab based in Bonn, Germany, and aimed to validate network slicing technology.
This can create a network slice on demand in each given application scenario with high flexibility and efficiency to meet the wide diversity of 5G applications 5G is anticipated to enable.
The 5G E2E network slicing implementation based on Huawei’s service oriented architecture has been driven to enable end-to-end network slicing through basic core network modularisation and control plane/user plane separation.
The core network and RAN interface are specified and implemented to support real end-to-end network slicing. For slice lifecycle management and slice monitoring, a slice manager to both the RAN and CN has been produced.
The joint demo, shows the potential of the innovation of “one physical network, multiple industry service”, the flexibility and efficiency of 5G network architecture, which is one of the key enabler of business successful in collaboration with the leading partners.
NB-IoT connects everything
Narrow Band IoT (the standard is currently being written by standards body 3GPP) which is designed for low power IoT transmission of small amounts of data, is a way to use 4G LTE spectrum must more efficiently and cost effectively, as it allows for 200kHz channels, rather than the normal 5MHz channels used for LTE.
Huawei demonstrated the monitoring of industrial gases as a typical Narrow Band IoT-based application at China Mobile's booth, showing how such technologies align with the key IoT and industry Internet strategy.
Huawei said it has cooperated with industry leaders on NB-IoT and its commercial applications. It has also engaged in joint NB-IoT testing with leading operators worldwide and launches of smart meter, smart parking, and other typical application solutions with vertical industry service providers.
David Wang, president of Huawei wireless network product line, said: ‘The Mobile Broadband (MBB) industry will continue to pick up speed in 2016. Huawei hopes for further cooperation with key players to drive growth of the industry while better serving vertical industries with MBB networks using NB-IoT and network slicing technologies. Our vision is to fulfillour long-term commitment to industry and society.’
See also: Huawei highlights 4.5G among five key initiatives ahead of MWC 2016