Huawei is now calling for cooperation across every facet of the wireless networking industry in the adoption of new cell site technology that will better support current networks through 5G and beyond. Speaking at the recent Huawei Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, company CMO Peter Zhou pointed to two concepts behind the company's SingleRAN Pro solution that Mr. Zhou says will help boost performance and drive down cost.
AI to the rescue
Centering on concepts introduced with its mobile automation engine last year, the second part of Huawei's answer is embodied in two solutions that are driven by AI management of cell networks. For outdoor cell sites, the company points to its Super Blade site solution, suitable for greenfield macro sites, rooftops, and new installations. That's built around a specialized ASIC chip that improves integration and utilizes a 1+1 antenna integrated into a more modular design. The decrease in complexity for indoor cells is provided via the '5G LampSite'.
Both solutions center around the use of mobile network automation, which shifts maintenance of a network as well as configuration and optimization more 'application-focused'. By comparison to current networking solutions, Huawei says its solution could result in a ten-fold increase in efficiency and a boost in network performance of 20-percent as its solution reaches Level 3 autonomy in 2022.
Coinciding with that and the second, the world's largest telecom's supplier is also calling for openness in terms of cell sites themselves. Huawei's CMO says that the industry needs to move away from traditional cell tower cabinets to a more modular design based on standardized components that don't rely on open interfaces. The company plans to lead the way on that front by opening up its own design standards across interfacing, heat dissipation, and traditional site weights to third-parties.
Overall, Huawei says that standardizing behind less open interfaces can improve on the total cost of ownership for infrastructure by as much as 30-percent and by as much as half for lamp posts.
Difficult challenges ahead for Huawei
The overarching goal is to eventually enable mobile operators to work out of a single box for every base station that supports all required mobile technologies and spectrum, Peter Zhou says. That might be easier said than done with solutions stemming from Huawei, however, since the executive says the effort would need to include a combined effort from between vendors, tower companies, mobile operators, and governments.
The US government, in particular, has found itself in multiple standoffs over the past several months, culminating in several arrests and a push to stop the countries allies from utilizing Huawei's networking technology. Of chief concern is whether or not the Chinese government will use the technology for spying purposes. Many world leaders have effectively shrugged off those allegations or are confident that they can circumvent any illicit activity.
Regardless, the disparate sentiments and cautious approach from governments are going to make any use of Huawei technology on a more "open" platform a more daunting sell for the company.
There may also be qualms from within the wider community of operators, who have already formed the O-RAN Alliance with similar endpoints in mind — and which Huawei has not joined. Namely, the group works to ensure that there are clear definitions for network requirements so that base stations can be prepared on open standards to accept the equipment of providers. Huawei disagrees with the approach, claiming that it could ultimately raise the total cost of ownership on cell sites.