Huawei Sets Out Its 5G Stall
Tong Wen, a Huawei fellow, told reporters recently that the company has 200 researchers working on 5G, which he described as "one of our priority projects ... It will really open up the 'Internet of Things' frontier for massive connectivity."
Tong believes the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) will drive the number of wireless connections worldwide to around 100 billion by the time 5G is mature in 2020, and this could increase another tenfold by 2030.
"5G won't be a replacement for 4G, 3G and Wi-Fi but will be an extension of them. It will address different issues that we will be facing for the next decade, such as immersive connectivity, with everything connecting into the network," stated the Huawei fellow.
The vendor has been working on 5G since 2009 and has partnered with 20 or so universities around the world, including Harvard, Cambridge and the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. (See UK Kicks Off 5G R&D.)
Tong said Huawei was advanced in prototyping a device and had completed a demo at 50Gbit/s throughput.
The introduction of 5G could also herald the introduction of wireless technology standard consolidation, as Tong expects that full duplex (simultaneous bidirectional communication on the same frequency) would replace the discrete frequency division and time division modes that have fragmented 3G and 4G development efforts.
However, such capabilities also come with exacting demands: Huawei expects 5G to require a thousand times more spectrum than is currently made available for wireless communications, much of it at extremely high frequencies.
Currently the highest bands allocated to wireless are 3.5 GHz for LTE TDD and WiMax, although WiMax can operate in a fixed wireless deployment at 66GHz.
Tong noted that, for the past 30 years, mobile spectrum has been allocated in the lower frequency bands. Now the focus will be on bands above 40GHz, where, the Huawei man believes, some 30GHz of spectrum is still available for short distance transmission.
"We need global harmonisation for the next decade to make it happen. Realistically it will take until [the World Radio Congress] 2019 to address these issues for the decade 2020-2030."
The Huawei man added: "There's still a long way for 5G. It's not a single technology -- it's an entire ecosystem."
For more on 5G developments, see:
— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading