Huawei talks about Beyond 5G, 5.5G and 6G

During the last week, there were a lot of talks on 5G, Beyond 5G and 6G. What caught everyone's attention though was Huawei talking about their 5.5G vision. 

So let's start with 5.5G. Huawei is so serious about it that it even did a press release detailing it today.

At the 2020 Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF), David Wang, Huawei's Executive Director, gave his keynote speech: "Defining 5.5G for a Better, Intelligent World". Wang said that 5.5G will be an evolution of 5G and that he looked forward to working with industry partners to define 5.5G. Together, Wang said, they can improve real-time interaction experience for individual users, enhance cellular IoT capabilities, and explore new scenarios, including Uplink Centric Broadband Communication (UCBC), Real-Time Broadband Communication (RTBC), and Harmonized Communication and Sensing (HCS), for a better, intelligent world.

Each generation of mobile communications technology has reigned for about a decade, before being superseded by a new standard. 5G will be the major mobile communications technology until 2030 and will likely be in service until 2040. The development history of 2G, 3G, and 4G over the past 30 years shows that, even within each generation, continuous evolution is necessary to fully unleash the potential of the technology and advance the development of the industry.

Connecting people is the basic function of 5G. Mobile networks were first created to keep people connected, anytime and anywhere. Between now and 2030, 5G will increasingly help people interact with the virtual world in real time and deliver a truly immersive experience. 5G-empowered VR/AR has made interaction between the physical and virtual worlds a reality. However, to deliver an XR Pro and holographic experience, cellular communication will have to provide higher speeds: The average access speed will need to increase from the 120 Mbit/s that supports today's 4K video streaming to the 2 Gbit/s necessary for 16K video. In addition, lower interaction latency will be needed; the current 20 ms will need to be brought down to 5 ms. To meet all these requirements, 5G needs to keep evolving.

Connecting things is a major extension of 5G. Huawei's vision and mission is to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Connectivity and computing will be the building blocks of this intelligent world, and 5G will be the most critical connectivity technology. Looking ahead to 2030, cellular networks will carry more than 100 billion connections, and most of them will be carried by 5G. This is orders of magnitude higher than the 1.3 billion IoT connections we have today. 5G needs to keep evolving to meet the ever more diverse and complex needs of IoT across all scenarios.

The experience of connection between people needs to be improved and scenarios of connection between things need to be further refined. In preparation for the day when 5G will support 100 billion connections, Huawei has proposed its vision for 5.5G. The company will shape the development and evolution of the 5G industry, inject more vitality into 5G, and create new value for the development of our societies and industry upgrades.

"5.5G is our vision for the industry. It is an enhancement and extension of the three standard 5G scenarios defined by the ITU – eMBB, mMTC, and URLLC," noted Wang.

The introduction of REDCAP means more device types will be available, providing the diverse range of devices needed by broadband IoT in the mMTC scenario. Optimizations in latency with a certain level of reliability allow for smart manufacturing like remote motion control in the URLLC scenario. As industry intelligent upgrades accelerate, a diverse range of IoT use cases will emerge and 5G use cases will also diversify. For example, some use cases require both massive connections and super large uplink bandwidth; some need communication and sensing capabilities. Therefore, 5.5G will cover three more scenarios than 5G: UCBC, RTBC, and HCS.

"Going beyond the original three application scenarios to six, 5.5G will take us beyond the Internet of Everything, enabling the intelligent Internet of Everything," said Wang.

The new scenarios enabled by 5.5G will create new value for social development and industry upgrades.

First, UCBC will accelerate the intelligent upgrade of industries. Built on the foundation of 5G capabilities, UCBC will enable a 10-fold increase in uplink bandwidth. This is a perfect fit for manufacturers who need to upload videos in machine vision and massive broadband IoT, accelerating the intelligent upgrade of industries. UCBC can also greatly improve user experience with mobile phones in indoor scenarios, with its deeper coverage and larger uplink capacity.

Second, RTBC will deliver an immersive, true-to-life experience. RTBC supports large bandwidth and low communication latency. The goal is to deliver a 10-fold increase in bandwidth with a given latency and a certain level of reliability. By achieving these goals, we can give users an immersive experience when they interact with the virtual world.

Third, HCS enables autonomous driving. HCS is designed to enable connected cars and connected drones, scenarios in which autonomous driving is the key requirement. By applying the beam scanning technology of Massive MIMO to the sensing domain, HCS can offer both communication and sensing functions. In indoor scenarios, HCS is capable of providing location services.

Fourth, sub-100 GHz usage pattern needs to be restructured to maximize the value of spectrum. To realize the industry's vision, 5.5G needs to use more sub-100 GHz spectrum for full-band uplink and downlink decoupling and full-band carrier aggregation on demand.

Fifth, with AI, 5G networks have limitless intelligence. The 5G era will see more frequency bands, and more types of devices, services, and customers than any previous generation. 5.5G needs to fully integrate with AI to address all these complexities.

Wang concluded his speech by saying, "Unified standards and industry collaboration are the core DNA that shapes the success of the global wireless communications industry. The development of 5.5G requires collaboration between all parties up and down the value chain."

On behalf of Huawei, Mr. Wang put forward three proposals.

First, all industry stakeholders should start working on 5.5G within the 3GPP framework as soon as possible.

Second, the industry should work together to drive a thriving 5.5G industry ecosystem by making the most of sub-100 GHz spectrum to provide diversified network capabilities and devices and overhaul cellular IoT.

Third, the industry needs to further integrate 5G into verticals to create more use cases and accelerate digital and intelligent transformation.

Huawei looks forward to working with industry partners to define 5.5G and build a better, intelligent world.

You can watch the video of the talk on YouTube here. The talk starts at 0:40 but the main 5.5G part starts at 19:40 and ends at 32:30

In addition to this, University of Surrey, in association with Telecom TV and ETSI hosted the What Next for Wireless Infrastructure summit, 11-12 November, 2020. Peiying Zhu, Huawei , VP of Wireless Research and IEEE Fellow gave a talk on What Next? 5G Evolution. The talk is embedded below.

Tong Wen, CTO of Wireless, Huawei and FIEEE spoke on 'A Perspective on 6G'. His talk is embedded below.

Tell us what do you think about these and which technologies and features will make it to final 6G.