By Wanchun Zhang, SVP, ZTE

Simple, efficient and collaborative, ZTE turns 5G on

5G will open an intelligent era of IoT and bring more business opportunities. It will become an enabling platform for traditional industry transformation and various new service innovations, and will become a new engine for the growth and development of the ICT industry in the coming decades.

5G differs from any previous generation of mobile communications in that it opens a larger space for imagination and requires a larger pattern to think about the construction of 5G networks and the development of the 5G industry.

With the start or upcoming commercial deployment of 5G in major regions around the world, the "5G era" is coming in 2019. 5G networks need to be constructed and deployed more easily and efficiently to promote the coordinated development of the 5G industry.

Three Key Drives for the Communication Industry

In the history of modern industry development, the basic logic behind the development of every era, from mechanisation to electrification, from electronic information to intelligent manufacturing, is to improve efficiency and promote the revolution of the industry.

For mobile communications, technological innovation also opens a new space for the industry, in which algorithms, processes and architectures are three key driving forces for the development of the communications industry.

Shannon's law is a typical representative of the algorithm. It defines the theoretical maximum capacity of a communication system under given bandwidth and antenna conditions, and also points out ways for achieving higher system capacity, for example more spectrum resources and larger-scale antenna arrays.

Moore's Law is an important process basis for the advancement of the ICT industry. Shannon's law defines boundaries and targets that can be reached, while Moore's law defines how quickly and how to achieve this goal. As the etching process of a chip gradually approaches the technical limit, Moore's law may not be applicable. In the future, the development of a chip will rely more on a new generation of substrate materials and chip architecture.

The third driving force is the architecture. IP is the keyword to network development in the past decade, and virtualisation is the keyword to network evolution in the future. Virtualisation is to decouple software from hardware, so that various applications can be rapidly iterated and evolved based on a universal computing platform with lower costs.

Mobile communication, like the human body, is constantly evolving. The changes brought by virtualisation to the network can be seemed as the brain revolution. It loosens the binding between applications and the network, allows low-cost trial-and-error, and brings rapid evolution at the application level. This is the basic context for 5G development from a technical perspective.

To sum up, ZTE puts forward the following three views to promote the development of 5G industrialisation.

  • Any technological breakthroughs will bring about constraints at the same time. We should treat these constraints rationally and act actively at a reasonable pace.
  • The era of IT and CT convergence has arrived. We hope to achieve the quality of CT services, with the speed of IT networks. Decoupling software and hardware via virtualised OS, implementing fast service trial-and-error, fast iteration, and flexible resource orchestration based on network slicing technology.
  • The quantity of the existing industry segment is converted into the increment of the telecom industry through 5G and digitalisation. 5G and industry segments mutually empower each other, thus achieving digital transformation and efficiency improvement in various industries.

Supreme simplicity, supreme intelligence, supreme experience

To meet the challenges of 5G deployment, ZTE has built a "supreme simple" network deployment, "supreme intelligent" network operation, and "supreme excellent" user experience. By virtue of high-performance chips, core technologies, a series of end-to-end products, network convergence and long-term evolution, ubiquitous artificial intelligence applications and 5G application exploration advantages, ZTE has overcome the technical difficulties such as precise and seamless 5G network coverage, coordinated development of multi-frequency and multi-mode networks, enhanced O&M efficiency, and vertical industry expansion, helping operators to gain competitive advantage in the 5G era.

The coexistence of 2G/3G/4G/5G calls for site resource reuse, multi-frequency and multi-mode coordination and smooth long-term evolution. ZTE's UniSite solution features high integration, high performance, and multi-frequency and multi-mode series of base station products, making site deployment simple, economical and efficient. The UniSite solution provides differentiated match solutions for various scenarios such as urban hotspots, urban areas, suburbs and indoor environments. This ensures seamless coverage and high network performance with the most economical investment in all 5G scenarios.

Simplifying the network architecture is imperative. ZTE NG BBU supports 2G/3G/4G/5G, CRAN, DRAN and other networking modes to achieve multi-mode network integration and smooth long-term evolution. The first commercial 5G Common Core in the industry, which is based on the service-based architecture (SBA), supports full access and integration of 2G/3G/4G/5G/fixed, is compatible with 3GPP R15 SA and NSA, and reduces the investment cost by 40 per cent.

With 5G, network operation and maintenance is becoming more and more complicated, and fragmentation imposes extremely high requirements on network capability and response speed. ZTE introduces a series of self-developed AI Engine in the full 5G scenario, including fine network management based on RF fingerprint, Massive MIMO weight self-adaptation, mobile load balance to increase capacity, and intelligent shutdown to save energy and reduce consumption, thus the unattended and self-evolution network can be realised.

The supreme experience comes from seamless network coverage and supreme performance. With the industry-leading high-performance and highly integrated self-developed chips, ZTE provides the industry's most powerful NG BBU and the industry's smallest 5G AAU. ZTE has five years' experience in Massive MIMO commercialisation. With continuous product performance optimisation, ZTE provides commercial performance optimisation solutions in various typical application scenarios (such as CBD and stadium) to provide users with optimal experience.

ZTE launched the industry's first AI-based commercial 5G slicing operation system, light edge cloud and intelligent acceleration solutions to meet the requirements of vertical industries for low-latency services.

While planning 5G network construction, operators are also exploring 5G killer services for commercial rewards. ZTE focuses on large-scale fields that have urgent requirements for 5G development. Firstly, the industrial fields, such as intelligent manufacturing, smart grid, V2X and smart Port. Secondly, social governance and people's livelihood, including public security, telemedicine, water management, and smart education. Finally, the entertainment field, including UHD live broadcast and AR/VR. So far, ZTE has worked with operators and partners to implement 5G+ vertical industry applications in more than 15 fields.

By virtue of end-to-end product series and rich experience in commercial network construction, ZTE is actively participating in the commercial construction of global 5G. Till now, ZTE has 25 commercial 5G contracts in major 5G markets such as Europe, Asia Pacific, MEA, etc. ZTE has more than 60 cooperations worldwide, including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Orange, Telefonica, Wind Tre & Open Fiber, H3A, MTN, Telecomsel, etc. 5G base station shipments has exceeded 50,000. ZTE will work with industry partners to promote the commercial deployment of 5G to facilitate a win-win 5G era.