Huawei may be fighting political battles on a growing number of fronts, but the China-based vendor continues to forge ahead with new 5G network developments, as well as new contracts with mobile operators.
The vendor announced what it clearly regards as a significant breakthrough in end-to-end network slicing, which is expected to play a large role in network transformation as 5G moves closer to reality. It claimed that it implemented the first application of 5G network slicing in large-scale live broadcasting, in collaboration with China Mobile and its entertainment subsidiary, Migu.
Network slicing is a technology that will enable mobile operators to provide portions of their networks for specific use cases, including IoT and smart factories. It is part of the 5G network architecture and will allow operators to create multiple virtual networks using a shared physical infrastructure. ABI Research recently predicted that the technique will create $66 billion in value for enterprise verticals by 2026.
The Huawei and China Mobile demonstration was clearly designed to show how the technology can also be applied to a live broadcast in the 4K UHD format, which requires specific network attributes such as low latency and high bandwidth, with the aim of building dedicated channels for live broadcasting over 5G networks. Huawei said it deployed its end-to-end 5G network slicing solution to ensure a “guaranteed experience for 4K UHD video playback”.
China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI), Migu, and Huawei are already collaborating on the development of standards for multi-media technologies based on 5G within the 5G Multi-media Innovation Alliance (5MII), established in 2017. The three partners now plan to further explore application innovation in 5G and multi-media, and will share their findings with 5MII and the 5G Slicing Association (5GSA).
A spokesperson for the Shanghai branch of China Mobile noted that China Mobile hopes to implement the concept of “slicing as a service” to meet the requirements of different vertical industries, “and achieve convergence and innovation in industry applications and 5G networks.”
Worth noting here is that China Mobile is also working with Ericsson and Nokia on 5G and the Internet of Things. Indeed, CMRI and Nokia this week signed an agreement with the aim of creating a “more open 5G ecosystem” by improving interoperability between multi-vendor radio access network (RAN) technologies. The Finnish vendor and operator plan to investigate the potential of open RAN (O‑RAN) and share their findings with the broader O‑RAN community through workshops and demonstrations.
Huawei, meanwhile, has not been having a good few weeks, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, it is still picking up 5G network contracts in the face of growing global opposition to the deployment of its telecom equipment in 5G networks.
For example, the vendor has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Altice Portugal on the development and implementation of 5G services in Portugal. The two companies, which have been working together for a number of years, are working toward a commercial launch of 5G services in 2019. Huawei was also named as the vendor partner for Deutsche Telekom’s 5G network implementation in Poland.