Huawei Targets 4.5G Mobile by 2016

Robert Clark
News Analysis
Robert Clark
11/21/2014

Huawei is promising a "4.5G" mobile networking solution by 2016 that will deliver more than 1 Gbit/s in throughput with 10 milliseconds latency.

Ryan Ding, president of Huawei's products and solutions, says the new kit would be aimed at "bridging the gap" between 4G and 5G, in particular to meet the growth of IoT, which Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. predicts will drive connections to 30 billion during the next five years. That figure includes 8 billion connections between people, 16 billion between people and machines, and 6 billion between things.

He said the "4.5G" tag was provisional ahead of a final decision on the name by 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in early 2015. "It may be LTE-Plus, LTE-B or LTE-C," he said. "If we can reach consensus, we will accept any name."

The new solution would include NFV capabilities, the ability to use unlicensed spectrum (known as LTE-U) and an air interface that could support Massive MIMO (large scale antenna systems), Ding said.

Speaking during Huawei's mobile broadband forum in Shanghai in which the company also burnished its 5G credentials, he noted that although the 4.5G tech included prospective 5G features like low latency and virtualization he thought it unlikely it would delay the introduction of 5G. (See Ready or Not, Here Comes 5G, Prepare for a 5G Onslaught and Huawei CEO Pledges 5G R&D Investment.)

Standards for 5G are expected to be finalized in 2018 and Japanese and South Korean operators are pushing for a commercial debut in 2020. Despite those timelines and the potential for 4.5G to potentially disrupt 5G adoption, Huawei is aiming to plant its flag in the 5G hill within a few years. (See Eurobites: Russia's MegaFon Plans 5G Trial in 2018.)


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our 5G content channel here on Light Reading.


Ding said the company's internal target for 4.5G is "more aggressive” than just 1 Gbit/s in throughput. "That is just the baseline. Based on the current prototype that we have built, we can achieve that."

But he said the latency was critical for the IoT. "We need some new wireless, not just for the telecom industry, but all industries. This is why we suggest new wireless technology that we hope can bridge 4G to 5G."

Latency over LTE or LTE-Advanced networks is 40 milliseconds, but to support certain commercial uses, such as high-speed financial trading or remote control applications, it needed to go much lower.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
11/28/2014 | 12:56:35 AM
Re: Race to 5G
SachinEE, 

By when 5G starts rolling out you will see the profit. As I said, if you are a network operator you will not want to stay behind. IoT is only becoming bigger and everything will have to be put in place in order to adapt. Or follow the dinosaurs. 

As for IoT, with 50 billion connected things by 2020 it will be hard to ignore. 

-Susan
SachinEE
SachinEE
11/27/2014 | 7:31:05 AM
Re: Race to 5G
"The idea of introducing 4.5G by 2016 is great and maybe I would expect Huawei to speed up a little its 5G to win the first position. "

@Susan: I don't see the profit in embracing 5G IOT networks because IOT is still a harsh place to tread on because of its numerous standards. If they can make malleable standards for mobile networks as well as IOT networks then I'm seeing a major growth in this sector.
SachinEE
SachinEE
11/27/2014 | 7:22:50 AM
Re: 4G first....
I heard that IOT systems were getting a major boost in 5G because IOT systems are already being developed as 5G ready and since Huawei has said that 4.5G would be crucial in IOT bridging networks then the architecture of IOT has to be back compatible and compatible with 5G and 4.5G networks alike.
R Clark
R Clark
11/25/2014 | 8:02:28 AM
Re: 4G first....
With regard to business models, Huawei says this is to deliver more bandwidth to match up with  end-user demand and to provide low latency for IoT.  So, better servicing the existing business model and addressing a new one. The Huawei people were citing some big forecast numbers for IoT, but some were also saying there's a bottleneck in lack of readiness by verticals.
TV Monitor
TV Monitor
11/24/2014 | 11:28:17 AM
Re: Race to 5G
Actually what Huawei is building in Russia is something like 4.6G. A Chinese standard that may see adoptions in Russia and Africa. Beside, Huawei and ZTE equipment are banned in the US(Softbank agreed to specially remove all Chinese equipment from Sprint's network when it won the takeover approval.), so Chinese developments have no effects in the US.

 

The US and EU are going with Samsung's 5G standard, which is serviced at 28 Ghz band.
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
11/22/2014 | 4:36:28 AM
Race to 5G
The idea of introducing 4.5G by 2016 is great and maybe I would expect Huawei to speed up a little its 5G to win the first position. 

As for operators, well, they have some time to do some strategic planning. Who would want to stay out of the 5G game, after all?

-Susan 
Ray@LR
[email protected]
11/21/2014 | 7:27:11 AM
4G first....
That's all great stuff, but do the operators have any business plans that might go with '4.5G'?

 

I want to see the operators really turn LTE and LTE-A into business enablers first.