At the Huawei Global Analyst Summit (HAS) 2022, Gan Bin, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Wireless Solution delivered a keynote speech titled ‘Endless Exploration, to Start a New Journey with 5G’. In his speech, Gan noted that: “5.5G will deepen the digital and intelligent transformation with ubiquitous 10 Gbps experience and 100 billion connectivity. Together with industry partners, Huawei will explore ultra-high bandwidth, uplink spectrum reconstruction, ELAA-MM, green air interfaces, and native intelligence to help operators build ‘1+1+N’ 5.5G networks and upgrade network capabilities.”
5G has opened the door to digitalisation and intelligence, and 5.5G will further boost digitalisation and intelligence. To realise the converged interaction between the digital and physical worlds, mobile networks need to provide ubiquitous 10 Gbps experience while keeping the latency within milliseconds. The vision for a digital, intelligent world requires an information infrastructure that supports 100 billion connections, thereby enabling the digital twin and intelligent upgrades of all industries.
This means that the industry must build a continuous 10Gbps experience layer on top of the 5G Gbps foundation network. To ensure 100 billion connections, new capabilities, such as integrated communication and sensing and passive Internet of Things (IoT), must be overlaid onto the foundation network on demand. It is to this end that the ‘1+1+N’ 5.5G is introduced.
Spectrum is the cornerstone of wireless networks. To realise ‘1+1+N’, each operator requires at least 1 GHz spectrum to guarantee ubiquitous 10Gbps experience. This highlights the importance of fully utilising all sub-100GHz spectrum, especially the parts that have ultra-high bandwidth.
In addition to delivering a 10 Gbps experience in the downlink direction, 5.5G requires continuous upgrades of uplink capabilities. As such, the industry needs to continuously explore all-uplink and super-uplink technologies, in addition to spectrum reconstruction, to achieve ubiquitous uplink Gbps.
5.5G will also move to higher frequency bands, which will place additional challenges on coverage. With this in mind, Huawei has proposed extremely large antenna array-Massive MIMO (ELAA-MM) to ensure the co-coverage between the C-band and higher bands based on extremely large antenna arrays. By capitalising on channels of a greater scale, this will significantly increase capacity and improve experience while guaranteeing continuous 10 Gbps. Moreover, the distributed ELAA-MM networking will maximise the potential of multi-site joint beamforming to achieve consistent 10 Gbps across the entire network.
By increasing the network capacity and spectral efficiency, the ultra-high bandwidth and ELAA-MM technologies will greatly improve the energy efficiency of 5.5G networks. In addition, the green air interfaces will further move the industry towards the ambitious goal of ‘0 bits, 0 watts’, helping make green 5.5G networks a reality.
Moving forward, mobile networks will have to depend on various frequency bands that differ vastly in capabilities to meet diverse service requirements. 5.5G will provide native intelligence to enable real-time sensing, analysis and prediction, and intelligent decision-making. With these capabilities, 5.5G networks will notably increase the efficiency of resource scheduling to guarantee diversified user experience. And to provide N capabilities flexibly, intent-driven solutions will be used to adapt networks to services across industries.
As mobile networks expand from 5G into 5.5G, the industry will further push the limits of capabilities with endless exploration of ultra-high bandwidth, uplink spectrum reconstruction, ELAA-MM, green air interfaces, and native intelligence to deepen the digital, intelligent transformation.