Data traffic is increasing year-on-year but without spotting the right trends and investing in suitable technology, operators could face broad challenges, warned leading global vendor Huawei.
Operators are eager to achieve headline-grabbing high national coverage for their marketing campaigns, but indoor coverage is an area that they must not neglect. Around 70% of 4G and 5G traffic comes from indoor use.
Speaking to Developing Telecoms at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Huawei's President of Wireless Digital Indoor System (DIS) Product Line Eric Bao said: “Based on the global insights, we believe that digital indoor system will be a very significant trend and also is now facing a huge demand among both end users and telecom operators.”
Bao noted the focus on outdoor coverage has led to powerful solutions to bolster signal in open spaces such as 64T64R massive MIMO, and Huawei has innovated to develop its Digital Indoor System (DIS) range of solutions to provide a balance for operators, as better alternatives to traditional Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS).
He explained DAS systems only support 1T1R or 2T2R when outdoor is hitting up to 64T64R, leading to a huge gap between indoor and outdoor connectivity capability, and inconsistency of service for subscribers on the move.
“We know that the population per square metre or per square kilometre indoors and outdoors are vastly different. The indoor traffic density might be 10 times if not 100 times that of the outdoor traffic density. If the indoor network capability is not strong enough, this kind of gap in indoor and outdoor traffic density will lead to inconsistent experiences. That's why the indoor user experience and capacity are critical,” said Bao.
Balancing outdoor and indoor
He also noted when comparing indoor transport hubs and popular outdoor scenic spots, the former has 10 times more traffic density than the latter although both cover hotspot locations. Operators could see profits affected if indoor coverage is not in line with strong outdoor coverage, that is why in the 5G era, operators need to bolster indoor digitalization, urged Bao.
According to insights cited by Huawei, over half of its B2B projects are for indoor scenarios, but old indoor equipment is not capable of supporting new use cases and B2B services, which will hinder the development of new vertical markets.
Another trend the Huawei executive pointed out is the rapidly evolving landscape of society, into what he calls an intelligent world through IoT. Bao explained advanced societies are currently in the initial phase of an intelligent world, where human beings are searching for information on the internet, and selected information are pushed to users as well.
As connectivity services evolve, devices and ‘things’ also seek out people with relevant information and each other, to produce a highly productive and connected society.
Of course, with the advent of 5G, there will be new use cases to tap into the technological advancements it brings. One such use case Bao highlighted was cloud gaming which is proving to be prevalent in China, where games require latency to be below 50 milliseconds and download speeds up to 500 Mbps.
To realise the above ambitions, DIS solutions need to be tapped into, urged Bao.
“We will be able to enjoy the ambition of things finding things, and realise the dreams of an intelligent society. In these intelligent societies, people's lives will become more convenient, more efficient and easier. This is in my opinion, the significance of DIS,” he said.
Delivering new solutions will bolster performance
To enable operators to tackle its new challenges, Huawei has released its 5G LampSite solution which enables not only B2C markets but also B2B players to digitally transform.
LampSite supports sub-3GHz and C-band spectrum, and is the only solution of its kind in the industry to allow an ultra-high bandwidth of 400MHz (3400 MHz to 3800 MHz) in C-band.
The DIS solutions are also sustainable by being capable of supporting 1.8GHz, 2.1GHz, and 3.5GHz bands while being encased in a unit that weighs 1.5kg, and its power consumption was reduced by 40% on predecessors.
All of this capability in a distributed massive MIMO, is designed in a compact form factor, suitable for indoor high-traffic areas like transport hubs, exhibition halls, shopping malls, hospitals and university campuses.
Bao pointed to an operator in Saudi Arabia, which deployed its LampSite solution at the LEAP convention in Saudi Arabia, delivering speeds of 3Gbps for attendees in the venue.
But more notably, the Huawei DIS solutions bagged itself a prestigious GLOMO award in the category of ‘5G Industry Challenge Award’ for its 5G fully-connected laundry appliance factory project with Midea Group and China Mobile in the city of Jingzhou in Hubei Province, China.
In this project, DIS products were used to connect 2,500 5G devices in 15 different factory scenarios and enabled machines to function more productively.
The devices had latency below 30 milliseconds and 99.99% network reliability, thus boosting production capacity by 17%. Midea Group saw labour costs cut by 30% as production efficiency increased by around 20%.
Bao described these innovations as truly “groundbreaking” and that they will “be able to help users and customers to enjoy an intelligent digital world.”