ZTE showcased solutions for ultra dense networks, massive MIMO, 5G network slicing and multi-user shared access technology to support dense IoT deployments, a high frequency band prototype and unveiled a new access layer platform to enable Pre5G backhaul at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 in Barcelona (22-25 February).
ZTE demonstrates Pre5G ultra dense networks
ZTE introduced its Pre5G Ultra Dense Network (UDN) solution at MWC. The Pre5G UDN solution is centred on user experience and based on existing network architecture by virtue of interference management and suppression, mobility enhancement, and other key technologies. The technology provides a solution to address increasing interference between base stations with overlapping cells in dense networks.
The solution achieves system frequency multiplexing and substantially increases efficiency and network capacity, according to ZTE, which said that tests showed that the downstream rate is increased more than 10 times in the overlap areas between cells where the technology has been implemented.
ZTE is marketing its newest 5G-ready solutions under the ‘Pre5G’ banner, much as rival vendor Huawei is using the term 4.5G. Essentially, these are pre-standard solutions that could be used in 5G but which are available now or will be available ahead of the 5G standard being completed in late 2019.
ZTE said that Pre5G uses the most practical core 5G technologies to deliver a near 5G user experience and is compatible with commercial long-term evolution (LTE) user equipment, and will be used commercially before 2020.
By using operators' existing sites and spectrum resources, Pre5G technology is able to enhance the access rate of existing network users and the overall network capacity, and effectively eases the challenges of the data traffic surge before 5G standardisation, which allows mobile operators to efficiently evolve to 5G.
Massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), UDN, and Multi-User Shared Access (MUSA) are core Pre5G technologies, which will respectively solve three major problems that customers will encounter in the next few years:
- contradictions between limited spectrum resources and the rapid development of mobile broadband (MBB) and the IoT
- capacity increase and cell interference problems in densely-populated areas
- network congestion problems caused by a deluge of IoT data.
In November 2014, ZTE carried out a pre-commercial field test of what it claims was the world's first Pre5G base station based on Massive MIMO. In early 2015, ZTE released the first Pre5G commercial base station. To date, ZTE has completed pre-commercial field tests with a number of global operators, including China Mobile.
Dr. Xiang Jiying, ZTE's chief scientist, said: ‘With great support from high-end operators, Pre5G will become commercially available in 2016. Meaning that the commercial use of 5G technologies and the 5G experience will come into play ahead of schedule.’
ZTE said it is continuing its research into key 5G technologies covering the following areas: network architecture design, multi-antenna technologies, high-frequency communications, IoT integration, new services (such as D2D, M2X, and URC), and much more.
ZTE and Korea Telecom demonstrate Pre5G Massive MIMO
At MWC 2016, ZTE joined up with Korea Telecom (KT) to exhibit a Pre5G massive multiple input multiple output (Massive MIMO) base station to demonstrate their latest cooperative achievements in the 5G field.
For the Pre5G Massive MIMO base station, ZTE utilises the multi-antenna space division multiple access (SDMA) technology to improve existing 4G wireless frequency spectrum efficiency by four to six times. In a commercial network, the average single-carrier peak rate of Pre5G Massive MIMO exceeds 400 Mbps.
ZTE explained it has produced this solution to meet sharply increased capacity expansion requirements mobile operators are facing as the amount of data being transmitted soars, and to address the difficulty of finding site locations.
Pre5G Massive MIMO uses a beam forming technology to extend coverage from 2D to 3D space to achieve seamless coverage and significantly improve the quality of the network end-to-end.
ZTE and China Mobile announce latest 5G high-frequency prototype
ZTE and its partner, China Mobile, officially announced their latest 5G high-frequency prototype at MWC 2016 and demonstrated 10 Gbps+ high bitrate, beam-tracking, and other key 5G technologies.
High-frequency communication is a critical area of technology in 5G, although centimetre and millimetre bands will not be available in the first phase of 5G roll out, as the ITU will not look at which of these bands to allocate to mobile services (if any) until World Radiocommunications Congress 2019.
This ZTE-developed high-frequency prototype operates on a 15 GHz carrier with a bandwidth of 500 MB and boasts a hardware structure of a large-capacity baseband unit (BBU) and an intelligent remote radio unit (RRU).
Its high-frequency, ultra-wideband and compact design optimises performance and provides a multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) peak bitrate as high as 10 Gbps+. It also uses beamforming technology so that mobile terminals can be tracked by multiple beams rapidly and adaptively to achieve 3D coverage in all directions and adapt to different user applications.
The prototype is designed for the commercial use of 5G, which will cover a wide range of the spectrum from low bands to high bands, hence making the air interface design more complicated.
ZTE’s 5G high-frequency prototype can make this easier and more efficient by integrating large-scale antenna arrays, standardising the air interface design, and using Mobile Broadband (MBB) to support diversified 5G services.
ZTE and China Mobile launch 5G-oriented future network architecture
ZTE and China Mobile also presented their 5G-oriented future network architecture design concept, and network slice prototype system at MWC 2016. The MWC demonstration used the latest generation of Intel Xeon processors to explore and key potential designs for future 5G network architectures.
This 5G network slice prototype system is based upon 5G network function componentisation, requirements-based orchestration and customisation. It creates dynamic 5G application scenario network slices via a visible orchestration environment, including mobile broadband (xMBB), internet of things (IoT), mobile edge computing (MEC) and more.
At MWC, ZTE reported that the technology demonstrated the Intel RSA-based access node/edge node/core node hardware prototype, quickly building real mobile broadband and mobile edge computing (MEC) 5G slice applications via a visible network slice orchestration system.
5G network service slice deployment enables the future network to become more flexible, economic and highly-efficient. It can adapt to the requirements of multi-system, variable scenarios and business modes, which better support the future of digital mobile.
ZTE showcases the MUSA-based multiple access prototype to support massive IoT data
ZTE also showcased its 5G internet of things (IoT) test bed based on multi-user shared access (MUSA) technology and filter blank-orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (FB-OFDM) technology at MWC in Barcelona.
ZTE claimed its products increase the number of connected users by three to six times without extra air interface resources, while providing a solution to 5G IoT data access.
The company explained that 4G focuses on the mobile Internet while 5G is focused on the mobile IoT. Supporting the access of surplus IoT data when air interface resources are limited is a huge challenge for operators, it noted.
ZTE pointed out that the access of 5G IoT data will become key to the success or failure of 5G vertical industry applications in the future. The company is basing its solution to handle millions of IoT devices on multi-user shared access (MUSA) technology.
MUSA is an innovative multiple access technology based on advanced non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) resource sharing. This technology allows multiple terminals to share the same air interface resources and increases the number of connected users by three to six times in IoT scenarios. The technology provides a real solution to data access, according to ZTE.
The FB-OFDM waveform technology is one of the potential 5G waveform technologies being developed by ZTE. The company claims FB-OFDM dramatically reduces inter-carrier interference through subcarrier-level filtering and helps users flexibly configure air interface resources in accordance with service requirements.
ZTE said that using this method allows spectrum to be put to good use, even the spare spectrum resource is scattered. The company believes this technology has laid a solid technical foundation for the establishment of 5G IoT on a large scale in the future.
In addition, ZTE said it is developing the next-generation 5G IoT prototype based on MUSA, and will fully participate in 5G technology tests and test network establishments in China.
ZTE launches new access layer product oriented to Pre5G backhaul bearing
ZTE also announced its new access layer product, ZXCTN 608, oriented to Pre5G backhaul bearing at MWC 2016. Including multiple indoor and outdoor models, the product family is notable for its small size and powerful access capabilities, the company observed.
With the rise of the Pre5G/5G era, the bearer network is increasingly required to provide networks with larger capacities and greater density for base stations so the network control can more easily use software defined networking (SDN)/network functions virtualisation (NFV) architecture.
ZTE’s new multiple access layer solution, which faces the backhaul bearing, utilises innovative products and solutions to assist operators with the challenges associated with future network extensions.
As an integrated device, the ZXCTN 608 adopts packet kennel, giving support to both indoor and outdoor scenarios. It is a small-size, large-capacity and high-performance access layer device specifically designed for the mobile bearer network.
The ZXCTN 608 series provides multiple interfaces, such as E1, fast Ethernet (FE), gigabit Ethernet (GE) and 10GE interfaces, fully meeting the transmission requirements of various mobile and customer services.
The outdoor device, 608P, supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) power supply and IP65 protection level. It can supply power for other devices in PoE mode, while meeting outdoor installation and application requirements, which can simplify network deployment and save on operational expenditure (OPEX) costs.
In addition, the ZXCTN 608 incorporates natural heat dissipation and a zero noise design to meet low-noise application scenarios. Moreover, ZTE pointed out that the ZXCTN 608P device supports SDN evolution to build intelligent networks, while providing a platform for network and application innovation, satisfying the long-term requirements of service development.
“ZTE’s ZXCTN 608P is the smallest outdoor access product but maintains an impressive capacity. The product is applicable to the access layer of a transport network and meets the impending multi-service unified bearing requirements coming into play. It is likely to be a key component for operators building complicated service access networks,” said Mr. Xu Ming, General Manager of Wireline Product Operation, ZTE.
ZTE wins award for ‘outstanding contribution’ at GTI Awards in Barcelona
At MWC 2016, ZTE won the ‘outstanding contribution on innovative solution and application 2015’ award at the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) award ceremony held in Barcelona.
ZTE won the award for its innovative “comprehensive uplink enhancement solution” as well as outstanding contributions to promoting the development of the time-division long term evolution (TD-LTE) industry.
ZTE’s “comprehensive uplink enhancement solution” was first implemented on commercial networks in 2015. This solution involves a variety of uplink performance enhancing technologies, such as UL CA, uplink coordinated multi-point (UL CoMP), UL 64QAM, multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO), and UL 3D MIMO.
It not only optimises existing uplink technologies, but also introduces uplink enhancement technology in ZTE’s Pre5G solution, aimed at the phased optimisation of uplink resources, and building more balanced and efficient networks to effectively improve the user experience.