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Connection+: More Connections, More Business Opportunities


The rapid development of information and communications technology (ICT) greatly enriches people's communication and life, shortening our distance from a fully connected world. The unstoppable technical innovation enables the cellular network technology to advance and continue to extend the fields for connections. The 4.5G technologies have extended connections in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT) and trunking communications. The representative 4.5G technologies include Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and LTE integrated Trunked Radio (LiTRA).

NB-IoT for Connection+

The traditional Internet connects people, while the IoT connects people and things and also things themselves. The essence of IoT is data perception, acquisition, and transmission. Data can be perceived and acquired through intelligent devices, monitoring devices, and sensor-embedded terminals (such as the residential water meter). Connecting water meters greatly improves the working efficiency and facilitates residents. As we can predict, the IoT will penetrate into people's daily lives, creating tremendous social value.

In the future, there will be a large number of IoT applications based on a variety of terminals serving their purposes in daily life (such as pet tracing) and in vertical industries (such as manufacturing and asset tracking). All these applications require low power wide area network (LPWAN) networks that have the following characteristics:

• Using licensed spectrums for high reliability and safety.

• Providing wide coverage, which is available even in basements, remote suburban areas, and other locations where signals are not usual.

• Consuming low power. When being powered by batteries, terminals can have a battery life of 10 years.

• Supporting a large number of connections. A single cell can support 100,000 connections.

• Requiring low cost. The cost of the communications module group is low.

• Insensitive to transmission latency.

• Providing extensible capabilities, such as mobility, roaming, and locating.

While existing cellular network technologies fail to meet the LPWAN requirements due to coverage, power consumption, and cost reasons, NB-IoT has become a major development direction. NB-IoT features wide coverage, a large number of connections, low data rates, low costs, low power consumption, and optimized architecture. It can be concluded that NB-IoT suits the LPWAN market requirements the most and therefore is the optimal choice for telecom operators to enter the LPWAN market.

In 2013, Huawei and Vodafone pioneered the research on low-bandwidth network connection technologies. In 2014, they submitted a technical proposal to 3GPP, officially starting the research on NB-IoT. In September 2015, NB-IoT has become an official Work Item in 3GPP R13. Its standardization is expected to be finalized in June 2016.

The LPWA market has been rising. To adapt to market requirements, Huawei has been performing pre-R&D on the E2E NB-IoT solution and launched the pre-standardization solution ready for the test purpose. Based on this pre-standardization solution, Huawei has successfully constructed the world's first showcase site with China Unicom in Shanghai in June 2015. In December of the same year, Huawei, together with Vodafone, completed tests on the commercial network in Spain.

Providing IoT communications services for vertical industries is one of the most important application directions of NB-IoT. Its innovation requires close cooperation with industry partners. To this end, Huawei and partners will establish eight open labs globally as innovation platforms. Currently, substantial progress has been made in smart parking, remote meter reading, and other directions. Huawei welcomes more partners to join in the cause of building a fully connected world.

LiTRA LTE Public Trunking Communications Solution for Connection+

The trunking communications system was invented in late 1960s and early 1970s. Different from the common point-to-point full-duplex mobile communications, trunking communications adopts half-duplex and point-to-multipoint communications mode and therefore is referred to as Push to Talk (PTT). Featuring low latency and large capacity, the trunking system meets the requirements for real-time onsite dispatching and is therefore widely used in the public security, public utility, and enterprise fields.

The trunking communications has been evolving from narrowband to broadband and from private to public. The traditional trunking technology complies with narrowband standards for private communications networks. Narrowband networks mainly provide voice services and cannot support high-speed data services such as video and multimedia. The technological architecture of private communications networks cannot meet service requirements due to the exclusive industry chain, high costs in device procurement and construction, expensive terminal price, excessive maintenance expenditure, as well as many other issues.

LiTRA, a representative technology in the LTE public trunking communications system (PTT over LTE) can resolve the issues on narrowband private networks. By leveraging the advantages of high bandwidth and low latency of LTE networks, LiTRA provides not only supreme trunking performance but also provide multimedia services including video call, video surveillance, file transfer, and GIS collaboration. More importantly, LiTRA can be deployed on existing LTE networks, helping operators greatly reduce construction and maintenance costs while offering better network coverage and roaming services. LiTRA is compatible with LTE smartphones, breaking the restriction of industry chain exclusiveness and providing professional and efficient trunking communications services.

Currently, 3GPP is leading the formulation of the new-generation trunking communications standards. The world's major trunking standardization organizations and government agencies, including OMA, ETSI, TCCA, TIA, UK Home Office, USA FCC, and U.S. Department of Commerce, are cooperating with 3GPP. A full set of professional trunking communications standards based on the LTE public networks and oriented towards public security and critical mission application scenarios are expected to be formulated in 3GPP R12, R13, and R14.

LiTRA is a professional trunking communications solution based on the 3GPP standards and LTE public networks. Huawei developed LiTRA to enable operators to offer a safe, efficient, and professional Public Safety LTE (PS LTE) network for customers in the public security field.

There will be inevitable challenges when LTE commercial networks are directly used for the public security application scenarios. To overcome these challenges, Huawei has enhanced LTE-based LiTRA’s capabilities in coping with emergencies by implementing MCPPT QoS management, MCPTT voice management, connection management, congestion control, and security protection. In addition, Huawei has provided an E2E product solution for LiTRA, including the application platform, dispatch console, APP, and rugged terminals. This helps operators quickly deploy trunking services to seize market opportunities.

An increasing number of governments are preparing to deploy national public security networks based on the existing LTE networks. LTE-based national security networks are expected to enter the pre-commercial phase in 2016.