Chinese technology heavyweight Huawei has given an outline of its ‘4.5G’ strategy, with the vendor reiterating that it expects 4.5G technologies to be deployed commercially by as soon as 2016, as a further evolution of the LTE standard prior to 5G becoming a commercial reality. At a briefing in London, Bob Cai, Huawei’s vice president of wireless network product marketing, presented potential opportunities enabled by 4.5G, ‘with ultra high speed massive connections and low latency, allowing all of us to be fully prepared for the large-scale arrival of applications for cellular Internet of Things (IoT)’, stimulating the increasing popularity of various technologies such as mobile virtual reality glasses, smart metering and drones. The presentation continued: ‘4.5G can deliver up to 1Gbps bandwidth on mobile networks, making mobile virtual reality possible … 4.5G will make cellular IoT a reality. Industry applications such as smart metering require low-power terminals and better network coverage. While LTE is mainly designed to handle smart phone capacity, which is unable to reach a large scale, 4.5G supports up to 100K per cell connections via LTE-M, 100 times that of 4G. LTE-M also provides better coverage (receivers require 1/100th of the signal of existing 2G systems, 20dB Gain) using low-power terminals (ten-year battery life).’ Regarding requirements for lower latency, Huawei’s presentation gave the example of a drone requiring at least a 20ms end-to-end latency for precision control, and noted that 4.5G would provide the capability of less than 10ms end-to-end latency, ‘opening the door for large scale commercialisation of real-time mobile applications.’
Huawei has also announced that it will present 5G-oriented air interface technologies at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next week. The solutions include non-orthogonal access technology based on Sparse Code Multiple Access (SCMA) and Filtered-Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (F-OFDM). Huawei says its new air interface design can ‘effectively improve spectral efficiency, increase connectivity and reduce latency, thus facilitating the deployment of customised scenarios applied to the Internet of Things (IoT) and for high bandwidth-consuming scenarios such as virtual reality.’ Huawei’s 5G air interface architecture also supports the full duplex prototype technology featuring multi-path fading cancellation and large bandwidth, and the vendor added that the new duplex mechanism is ‘able to improve spectral efficiency by 200%, laying a solid foundation for future unification of TDD and FDD spectrums.’
Also in 5G developments this week, the UK’s University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) has achieved data speeds of 1Tbps over a distance of 100 metres in laboratory tests using university-built equipment. While comparable commercial speeds are not thought possible within the 2020 timeframe for the launch of 5G networks, the 5GIC tests are expected to be expanded campus-wide in 2016/17 ahead of public demonstrations scheduled for early 2018.