- Alliances, trials and JVs announced, new products launched
- Huawei announcements running at more than one per working day
- Standards frozen at year’s end, then the contracts are arranged
You’d have to be living in a total mobile data notspot not to have spotted the sheer number of product releases, alliances, trials and promotional activities generated recently by the 4G/5G infrastructure industry, as we head inexorably towards the final assault on the ‘5G Peak of Inflated Expectations’ (located in the famous Gartner mountain range in IT Land).
Several expeditions are assembling at base camp, but the most visible is one of those tackling the peak from the Chinese side... Huawei.
Yes, Huawei’s been increasingly active in telecoms infrastructure for many years now (slight understatement), but the last month has seen TelecomTV’s Tracker service (https://www.telecomtvtracker.com/timeline/) filter more than 20 ‘new things’ from Huawei. Everything from ‘Huawei and Dolby Laboratories announce world’s first Dolby Vision-enabled set-top box for IPTV’ through to today’s industry first - its ‘Dual-200’ Massive MIMO Active Antenna Unit (AAU) pictured above.
Huawei has chosen this week’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum to unleash the beast that is the ‘Dual-200’ and I feature it here because it sort of shows where we’ve got to with mobile infrastructure in terms of integration, spectrum band support and data throughput on an antenna unit.
No doubt it also does twice as much for half the price of the technology it replaces (we never get to know, except in generality, the negotiated prices for this sort of infrastructure, but judging by competitors’ financial results it must along those lines). Huawei will only say “the device can reduce the overall cost of C-band deployment and maximize existing site and spectrum resources, to significantly improve wireless network capacity and user experience.”
Of course it’s like a complete base station on a stick and it comes with lots of ‘ultras’. Huawei claims it has adopted the power amplifier technology of Huawei's RF chip and innovative antenna array technology: it features ultra-high power (to improve coverage), ultra-large bandwidth, and ultra-high integration. To support wider coverage, the power amplifier technology used by this type of AAU can achieve as much as 200W power, 60% higher than previous generation devices, Huawei claims.
In addition, the C-band will be the mainstream band of 5G NR and operators will generally have more than 100MHz bandwidth at their disposal. The product has a capability of 200MHz bandwidth, (double the last generation). It will support operators' future C-band spectrum combinations, with a single module to complete the C-band deployment, saving site space and reducing network construction costs. It allows the peak rate of a site to reach more than 10+Gbps for 5G NR, which Huawei claims will meet the future needs of large-capacity services.