On the Road to 5G
[Tokyo, Japan, November 24, 2016] Ryan Ding, Executive Director and President of Products & Solutions at Huawei, has called for the telecom industry to begin preparing for 5G. Speaking at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo, Ding encouraged all telecom operators to focus their preparations on three areas: infrastructure, operations, and ecosystem development.
During his keynote, "On the Road to 5G", Ding shared a formula for success in the telecom industry: Success = infrastructure x operations x ecosystem. He said that 5G will require two major changes: Going from network-centric to application-centric, and from person-centric to thing-centric—a significant paradigm shift. But emphasizing that the transformation will take time, Ding told carriers that they can't afford to wait until 2020 (the estimated date of 5G commercialization) to begin the process. "We can't wait for it to happen. We have to make it happen," Ding said, emphasizing that operators should begin laying the right foundations to speed the arrival of the 5G era.
To prepare their infrastructure for 5G, operators need to begin the end-to-end cloudification of their architecture. Solutions such as CloudRAN, CloudWAN, and CloudEdge will enable them to build an all-cloud, fully elastic network architecture that encompasses access, transmission, and core. And during the process of cloudification, they will resolve underlying technical obstacles related to latency, clock accuracy, and performance. Carriers with all-cloud networks will be perfectly positioned when 5G arrives, able to update their networks to 5G at the touch of a button and take advantage of first-mover opportunities.
As carriers transform their operations for 5G, Ding said that NB-IoT is a necessary stepping stone, and will serve as a proving ground for new operational capabilities. Over the next 3-4 years, carriers can update their systems and test them by deploying NB-IoT-based services, resulting in open, agile, and highly automated operating systems that have greater capacity to deliver services for connected things and devices. That operational experience with IoT will position them to better support the enormous range of services and massive number of connections made possible by 5G.
In his speech, Ding announced a new five-dimensional standard for measuring the connection experience of IoT-connected devices. The five dimensions are Availability, Bandwidth, Coverage, Delay sensitivity, and Energy efficiency. The standard is explained in a new Huawei white paper, Things Coverage, also released during the Global MBB Forum.
Things Coverage enables carriers to develop an accurate wireless performance model for each IoT use case. These requirements (e.g., for coverage, battery life) can be incorporated into an allocation map for service provisioning, enabling operators to optimize the structure of their mobile broadband networks. By offering optimal blends of complementary IoT services, carriers can speed up rollout and reduce total cost of operation. They can then monitor traffic levels, energy consumption, and other indices to determine how well their network is performing and ensure steady growth.
Huawei believes that IoT ecosystems will have to be "glocal" alliances including everyone from multinationals down to small local suppliers. Operators will need to work closely with global technology vendors, but they should also guide the development of local ecosystems. By opening up their own platforms, they can innovate in partnership with small, local companies. Huawei also aims to open channels for communication between telecom carriers and other verticals, so that they can jointly cultivate a robust new ecosystem for the Internet of Things.