Thursday, 24 May 2018

Friday Review: Back(haul) to the future

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Friday 20 April 18

This year, Huawei's annual Analyst and Media Summit had a more restrained focus on 5G than you might have expected, but the Chinese kit maker still had plenty to say on the subject in Shenzhen

With all the hype and furore surrounding 5G, you could be forgiven for thinking that the roll out of nationwide 5G coverage was set to be announced at any minute. The reality, of course, is that there are still many, many hurdles to clear before the awesome power of 5G is unleashed upon mobile consumers across the globe. Kudos to Huawei, then, for playing down the 5G fanfare at its recent Analysts' Summit in Shenzhen…

With all the hype and furore surrounding 5G, you could be forgiven for thinking that the roll out of nationwide 5G coverage was set to be announced at any minute. The reality, of course, is that there are still many, many hurdles to clear before the awesome power of 5G is unleashed upon mobile consumers across the globe.

Kudos to Huawei, then, for playing down the 5G fanfare at its recent Analysts' Summit in Shenzhen.

The company's rotating chairman, Eric Xu, struck a refreshingly cautious tone on 5G during his key note address on day one, telling attendees that "telcos are increasingly under pressure to publicise their 5G strategies for marketing purposes".

That is not to say that Huawei are not excited about 5G – far from it – they are just not putting all of their eggs in one basket.

Xu went on to say that the world will not see the first 5G roll outs until after 2019 and that there was much work to be done in the mean time to make networks ready for the next generational leap.

One of the main snagging points in the race to prepare for 5G is likely to be backhaul and fronthaul services. 

Huawei has recently launched its 5G multi-service fronthaul bearer solution, designed to pre-empt such problems. It supports multiple types of services including mobile service transmission, cloud-based private line, and wide coverage of home broadband to help operators use one network for multiple purposes.

Total Telecom met with Xingang Lu, vice president of Huawei’s Network Solutions, to find out how the launch is helping network operators prepare for 5G.

"Huawei's vision is to build a better connected, intelligent world. If you look at the market as a whole you can divide it into different bands of users. There are mobile users, home users and enterprise users, as well as a whole range of IoT applications. Our target is to find how we can provide the best solution for each of these end user groups," he said, in an exclusive interview in Shenzhen.

In mobile fronthaul scenarios, Huawei's 5G multi-service fronthaul bearer solution can achieve speeds of 100 Gbps to the site with zero footprint and installation within 10 minutes. It can save 90 per cent of optical fibres and meet the requirements of 4G/5G integrated fronthaul scenarios.

In home broadband scenarios, this solution can effectively reuse fibre/site resources and help operators quickly expand the home broadband market. Lu believes that the new solution will be particularly useful in opening up new opportunities in the home broadband market.

"With home broadband we already have some technologies, such as FTTH, copper and WTTX. Now, we have another option with 5G. This will create more opportunities (for Huawei).

If you look at some emerging markets, it is extremely difficult to deploy the fibre or copper services, but with 5G things become more possible. So, this technology is actively opening up new markets to us," he said.

Huawei believes that the launch of the 5G multi-service fronthaul bearer solution represents a major step towards 5G commercialisation. The company will continue to work with the industry to  help operators quickly develop new services.

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