Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecom vendors, announced on November 19, 2014 that they will be partnering with the Russian telecom provider MegaFon on a 5G test bed project. In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the two companies agreed to work together to develop the new technology in time for the FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018. Now that the Huawei Fraud and scandals have been discovered here in 2019, it’s interesting to take a look back at their actions over the past 5 years in how well ingrained into society this brand was.
What is 5G? That remains to be seen. The technical standards have yet to be developed. While 3G and 4G standards are reaching maturity, 5G remains in its infancy. Brand new 5G standards will detail improvements in mobile capacity, efficiency, and speed beyond current standards. LTE-Advanced (4G), for instance, defines a peak download rate of 3 Gbps (gigabits per second), and a peak upload rate of 1.5 Gbps, higher spectral efficiency by increased throughput levels, and improved performance by increased MIMO bitrate through transmission. 5G will push those limits.
According to Huawei’s white paper (see download link below), 5G networks will offer “1000-fold gains in capacity, connections for at least 100 billion devices, and a 10 Gb/s individual user experience”. The paper cites the growing incidence of flexible working practices, the need for access to “Big Data”, the growing relevance of social media, and the convergence of ICT network infrastructure as part of “the coming next wave of a globally connected Digital Society”. Huawei wants to build “smart cities” to meet “extreme” mobile network performance and capacity requirements. The advent of 5G promises breakthroughs in technologies such as coding and modulation algorithms and RF architecture. As with previous technological developments, there will be a continual give and take as Requests for Comment (RFCs) are debated by engineers and designers, then accepted, rejected, or tabled.
In May 2014, NTT DoCoMo announced that they would be conducting 5G trials with six telecom vendors: Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung. No doubt those tests will result in similar but competing technologies. Over time, these efforts result in new standards that are widely accepted and placed in production. In the end, average mobile telecom consumers will take advantage of extremely complex technologies that are thankfully transparent to the user.