Huawei Empowers 5G Carriers
5G is not business as usual. If carriers are to take full advantage of the next-gen tech, close attention must be paid to advanced network planning. Without a deep understanding of signal propagation using higher sub-6GHz frequencies and millimetre wave spectrum, common features of 5G networks, enhanced mobile broadband capable of delivering ultra-high-definition video — and enabling new use cases built on augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) — will be difficult and expensive.
Achieving ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) is likewise a tricky task without the right end-to-end network architecture. Carriers can’t afford to miss out on URLLC if they want to play a role in new and exciting markets, such as smart driving and automatic industrial control. Quick service orchestration and deployment of network slices, where dedicated network resources are set aside for a service or an enterprise, is another 5G requirement. Carriers need real time resource configuration as part of their OSS/BSS armoury.
Getting ahead with 5G, then, might look a daunting task. And given the huge amount of money often needed to secure 5G-friendly frequencies — plus extra capex and opex on more small cells to increase network capacity —supplier choice is clearly a high stakes decision.
But if selection criteria are innovation and proven track record of large-scale 5G rollouts, Huawei Technologies emerges as a strong candidate to help carriers on their next-gen journey.
LG Uplus, the third largest mobile operator in South Korea, has managed to deliver 5G enabled AR, VR and 360-degree multi-camera playback services for sports events to its early adopted 5G subscribers, and thanks to that strategy, the market share in 5G network of LG UPlus has spiked to higher than its general wireless market in the country. And its 5G ARPU, according to a Strategy Analytics report, is currently at KRW 73,500 (US$63.8), compared to KRW42,000 (US$36.5) on 4G.
Excellent 5G network performance and fast deployment speed
The Strategy Analytics report also noted that recent tests conducted by users of the BenchBee service show average download speeds at 527Mbps in the Yongsan-Gu area of Seoul, which, compared to the average of between 300-500Mbps, is impressive.
In addition, LG Uplus is reporting that the technology is helping to improve the speed of network deployment -- the Massive MIMO equipment can be installed by two engineers within two hours.
Despite the success in early 5G network deployment, the operator is reportedly planning to adopt standalone NR in Q4 2019. It is also laying out its plans for multi-access edge computing (MEC) and Private 5G in order to catch the business opportunities with 5G for industrial customers.
Huawei support and innovation
Being the crucial partner and the key enabler of the LG UPlus 5G journey, Huawei's innovation is a return on the massive $4 billion investment Huawei has made in 5G over the past decade. The supplier's 5G basic patents total 2,570, accounting for more than a fifth of the world’s total. No other manufacturer can match that. It's another reassurance for carriers as they contemplate their path towards commercial 5G.
One key 5G technology that demands a re-think on network planning is 3D-MIMO (multiple input multiple output) antenna configurations. They require a high precision propagation model, something which Huawei has already developed. Active antenna units (AAUs) that use 3D beamforming — where beams can be adjusted in both vertical and horizontal planes — give carriers much greater flexibility. Better vertical coverage for high-rise buildings, for example, and horizontal coverage for wide area coverage.
Huawei’s 3D-MIMO technology was on display, but proof of its performance credentials is not confined to labs or exhibition floors. Aided by the Chinese supplier’s macro base stations using massive MIMO — 64 transmitters and 64 receivers (64T64R) or 32 transmitters and 32 receivers (32T32R) — LG Uplus rolled out a large scale 5G continuous network in Seoul using 3D MIMO AAUs in the C-band (3400MHz 3800MHz).
Huawei also lays claim to offering the most compact and energy efficient base stations in the industry. This has been achieved through adopting new materials, new manufacturing techniques, and special heat dissipation technologies.
The 64T64R version weighs in at 40kg, measuring 795mm×395mm, while the smaller 32T32, at 699mm×395mm, weighs 20kg. Comparable massive MIMO 5G base stations from other vendors, asserts Huawei, are 40% bigger and heavier. Typical power consumption per sector on its equipment is 880W for 64T64R and 550W for 32T32R. Other vendors, says Huawei, are consuming 30% more power on their 5G New Radio (NR) cell sites.
Moreover, Huawei has showcased Balong 5000. Billed as the world’s first 5G multi-mode chipset, Balong 5000 supports 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G on a single chip. Better still, Balong 5000 handles both SA and NSA network architectures. And at sub-6 GHz frequencies, using an industry-busting 200MHz chunk of bandwidth, Balong 5000 supports downlink speeds of up to 4.6Gbps.
More use cases have emerged as Huawei is helping its global service provider customers in launching 5G services, such as in robotics, mining, healthcare and public services. Innovation never ends, and the momentum of growing 5G user adoption and commercial application on a global scale looks unstoppable.
This content is sponsored by Huawei.