Even as the world is gearing up for 5G, Huawei has announced that has started R&D for 6G technology. Huawei, among the key players globally with 5G networks already live in the UK, Sweden and South Korea, had started work on 5G just as 4G was being rolled out for the first time.
“The company has invested $4 billion since 2009 in 5G and as an outcome, the company has 5G chipsets, smartphones, routers, transport networks and base stations,” Joe Kelly, Vice-president, International Media Affairs at Huawei explained on the sidelines of Huawei AI Chip and New Open-Source Computing Framework launch conference. He added that 5G will co-exist with 4G.
“We are not done with 4G anymore than we are done with 5G because you see us improving. We still sell 3G in various parts of the world because that’s what they have. But the 3G that we sell today is much better than what we sold four years ago because some of the breakthrough development that we do for 4G,5G can be applied to 3G as well. Even though it is older technology, it can always be maintained,” he added.
What this means for most telecom operators is that they will run 4G and 5G in parallel and maybe switch off the older 2G networks. “5G will be built on top of 4G,” Kelly added.
Kelly reminded that Huawei started its R&D for 5G in 2009, which is when the world’s first 4G network went live in Norway. So there is this process where R&D and telecom overlap. “We have two broad R&D teams in Huawei – Products & Solutions (P&S) and 2012 Labs, which works on long-term products. Though Huawei has started working on 6G, the R&D team is quite small as of now, he admitted.
For consumers, whether they are in India or anywhere in the world, a range of changes will come with 5G. Autonomous driving will become safe, IoT will become mainstream, high-definition 8K television at home will also be enabled by 5G, and of course very high-speed data,” Kelly told Indianexpress.com.
For instance, Huawei has deployed 5G DIS (Digital Indoor System) in Shanghai’s Hongqiao railway station for the passengers to enjoy fast network services. The company aims to find solutions to how 5G can be deployed in high-density areas since the technology uses high frequencies, which makes it difficult for signals to penetrate into buildings.
The company also showcased massive 789 Mbps download speeds and 143Mbps upload speeds during trials. Another use case that the company is looking at is in the mining sector. Huawei is running trials in northern China to make mining safer using remotely controlled drills, excavators as well as crushers. The auto-pilot trucks are said to reduce annual manpower cost by CNY30 million.
Huawei’s 5G backpack, which will help with 5G broadcasting could bring down the costs to $1.5K when compared to traditional satellite broadcasting of around $1.5 million. Interestingly, 5G also has a use case in fish farming using 4K cameras, which can send high-definition photos of fishes over the 5G network. The rate of survival increases by five per cent, thanks to AI, the company showcased.
Disclaimer: The author is in Shenzhen, China attending Huawei AI Chip and New Open-Source Computing Framework launch conference on the invite of Huawei India