It has been a busy week for Huawei as the cellular infrastructure giant unveiled a blitz of new solutions this week at its 2016 Global Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo, Japan.
These new solutions included: a 4.5G Evolution concept; a TechCity 2.0 concept to help telecom operators overcome issues of long service rollout periods; a system of metrics to evaluate the quality of an IoT platform; and the launch of its latest multi-band active antenna unit (AAU) products.
4.5G Evolution concept
The company describes it as an enhancement to 4.5G, which is designed to help telecom operators build a future-oriented network with higher capabilities to expand their businesses and meet user demand for fast and reliable mobile broadband services.
Bob Cai, Head of Huawei LTE FDD Product Line (pictured above), noted that 4.5G Evolution maximises the capacity of existing networks and enables future-oriented evolution through three core areas: ‘Go Giga’, ‘Go Vertical’, and ‘Go Cloudification’.
Go Giga: Maximizing existing network capabilities to thrive in a gigabit era
By leveraging massive MIMO, massive CA, and other cutting-edge technologies, Go Giga ‘brings maximum value to the network, fully supporting high capacity requirements at outdoor hotspots, large venues, homes, and other locations’.
Go Giga delivers peak rate capabilities and seamless high-speed services in all scenarios for an improved user experience. Through Go Giga, both cell centre and cell edge users can enjoy high quality services, with the cell peak rate and average capacity improved. Users can gain high-speed network access outdoors and indoors, without perceiving any difference in the quality of service.
Go Vertical: Broadening business by entering vertical markets.
By utilising NB-IoT technology, telecom operators can participate in the mobile IoT market, driving digital transformation through network capability exposure. Huawei said it has completed the end-to-end technological verification of NB-IoT with a number of world-leading telecom operators, laying a preliminary foundation for the exploration of new business models.
LiTRA, a broadband trunking communications technology based on the public LTE network, is designed to enable telecom operators to quickly enter the public safety field and industrial trunking communications market. LTE-V makes urban transport safer and more efficient by allowing vehicle-vehicle, people-vehicle, and vehicle-network communications over the operators' existing networks.
Go Cloudification: Evolving to the future by embracing a cloudified architecture.
CloudRAN is a technology that applies a cloudified architecture to the radio access metwork (RAN). A CloudRAN-enabled network features significantly shorter end-to-end latency to improve the user experience.
By supporting flexible deployment of various services and technologies, CloudRAN also helps telecom operators improve their network resource usage and O&M efficiency. As an anchor for joining 4.5G and 5G, CloudRAN helps maximize network collaboration efficiency.
The TechCity 2.0 concept
Huawei explained its TechCity 2.0 as a concept designed to help operators overcome the challenges of bringing new technologies to market quickly and easily by overcoming issues of long service rollout periods and extended processes for introducing new technology.
TechCity will also function as a trial field for operators to perform end-to-end verification on business models of new technologies and services. By demonstrating the value of new technologies and services through TechCity, they can receive wider industry recognition improving their ability to create greater benefits for society.
The concept builds on Huawei’s TechCity 1.0 by taking on the new characteristics that have emerged in the mobile Internet industry, including a smarter network, an open platform, higher service diversity, and extended responsibilities.
To meet these characteristics, Huawei proposes TechCity 2.0 with the theme of a ‘Better Connected City’. The hope is TechCity 2.0 will drive operators' leadership in three core areas: technology, business, and social responsibility.
Dr. Peter Zhou, CMO of Huawei Wireless Network, said: "TechCity 2.0 not only helps telecom operators maintain their technological leadership but also resolves technological and business issues by scaling the deployment of new technologies and services. Huawei hopes to work hand in hand with operators and the entire industry to explore new service opportunities and facilitate greater social responsibility."
Methodology for evaluating the quality of an IoT network
Next up was the launch of ‘systematic metrics for the connection experience of Internet of Things (IoT) devices’. The Things Coverage methodology includes an approach to evaluating the quality of an IoT network, and is, Huawei said, the first system for planning mobile networks that must serve things as well as people.
It provides a set of quantitative standards which can serve as reference for the entire IoT ecosystem, from telecom operators and device makers to users. Co-ordination across the ecosystem will help operators roll out their networks fast maximise the value of the IoT.
Building IoT-ready networks is a challenge for operators because of the vast number of different IoT applications and services. Operators have been looking for a new network planning methodology, according to Huawei, which will help them meet the demands of IoT connections, maximize the value of their IoT services, and provide a superior IoT experience.
Huawei's Things Coverage methodology includes a 5-dimensional standard for the connection experience of IoT devices. Each use case is analysed in terms of Availability, Bandwidth, Coverage, Delay sensitivity, and Energy efficiency.
The combination of scores across the five dimensions gives a connection quality baseline for each type of service: smart metering, connected cars, industrial controls, etc. On this basis, Huawei proposes a Things Coverage network planning methodology, the first in the industry to focus on the need to connect things as well as people.
Things Coverage includes a series of radio models, with different combinations of wireless connection features, for different types of application scenario. These models are then mapped onto network maps showing where the various services are needed. The maps will guide later service provisioning based on key dimensions such as grid-level coverage and battery life.
You can find out more about Things Coverage in this Whitepaper:
New active antenna units
Finally, Huawei showcased its latest active antenna unit (AAU) products. These AAU products include: the large-capacity Massive MIMO AAU; the Easy Macro2.0 for agile site deployment; and the highly-integrated multiband AAU, which supports up to seven frequency bands and four radio access technologies (RATs).
Huawei AAUs integrate radio units and antenna devices through an upward movement of radio functions from distributed base stations to antenna devices. This is Huawei's new-generation base station solution, after the release of its distributed base stations.
Since the launch of the first commercial AAU in 2013, Huawei said its AAUs have been deployed on over 120 commercial networks across the world. However, operators are still facing new challenges in MBB network construction as the AAU solution has gained increasing popularity.
Huawei has released the latest AAU products to assist them in addressing thesse challenges from the perspectives of user experience, agile site deployment, and site convergence. The reasons behind this are:
Driving Force 1: Improved user experience
The rapid growth of data services, such as HD video and virtual reality (VR), is raising increasingly high requirements for the capacity of mobile networks. How to provide an excellent user experience has become operators' top concern.
Huawei's Massive MIMO AAU can achieve a fivefold increase in network capacity, significantly reduce the cost per bit, and improve user experience. Currently, several global leading operators have deployed Massive MIMO AAUs for trial and commercial uses.
In addition, the Massive MIMO AAU hardware can support a smooth evolution to 5G. Only an upgrade of baseband processing units is required to support 5G while keeping AAU devices unchanged on existing frequency bands.
Driving Force 2: More agile site deployment
Compared with first-generation products, Easy Macro2.0 supports higher output power (up to 50%), more radio frequency channels (from 2TX to 4TX), and more RATs (from GU dual-mode to GUL multimode).
Huawei's Easy Macro solution can help operators fully utilise existing pole resources, shorten the time of new site acquisition by 60%, and reduce site construction costs by 40%. Currently, this solution has been deployed on 50 commercial networks around the globe, placing it at the cutting edge of the new wave of agile site deployment.
Driving Force 3: Site simplification and convergence for multi-band network
Radio spectrum is operators' most valuable resources. Various spectrum resources lead to increasing challenges for site deployment. A single new AAU can support seven bands and integrate dual-mode radio units, which reduce the required device quantity by 30% and the site rental by 40%.
The highly-integrated AAU can facilitate site deployment, shorten the network construction period, and reduce construction costs. The AAU also allows a smooth upgrade to support more frequency bands and channels, which effectively protects operators' investments.