Huawei’s David Wang details roadmap for comprehensively moving towards 5.5G era

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Huawei, in pursuit of the concept of “comprehensively moving towards the 5.5G era,” has proposed the industry’s innovation roadmap for the next five to ten years.

Addressing a keynote at the Win-Win Huawei Innovation Week, David Wang, Executive Director of the Board and Chairman of the ICT Infrastructure Managing Board of Huawei, said, “Looking ahead to 2025, the sheer diversity and magnitude of network service requirements will create huge new market potential.”

Huawei proposed 5.5G – next evolution of 5G networks – for the first time at the 11th Global Mobile Broadband Forum in 2020, and F5.5G (or fixed 5.5G) at the Global Analyst Summit this April. Since then, there have been several discussions around technology and innovative practices around 5.5G.

Wang said the era of 5.5G will be characterized by 10 Gbit/s experience, 10x effective computing power, and 10x storage performance. It will bring businesses beyond the boundaries of connectivity. The 5.5G evolution will also be marked by the developments around autonomous driving networks (ADNs) and green networks.

From telepresence 10 years ago, today, global companies are using innovative Meta Summit to communicate with each other, greatly improving immersive experience. In the future, the virtual world will be deeply integrated with the real world, and more participants will collaborate at the same time. This will create the demand for stable network connections higher 10 Gbit/s, Wang said.

Huawei estimates that by 2025, 5.5G, F5.5G, and Net5.5G will support 10 Gbit/s access in all scenarios.  In the context of mobile communications, the 10 Gbit/s experience can be achieved through wider spectrum, higher spectral efficiency, and higher-order MIMO technologies.

In the fixed network field, next-generation technologies such as FTTR, Wi-Fi 7, 50G PON, and 800G will help achieve 10 Gbit/s ubiquity through “ubiquitous optical connection and optical transmission without sites,” Wang said.

The super optical module with double optical power density can fully support 50 Gbit/s access at 20 km. The PON protocol is redefined to help carriers provide high-quality private line services by using the PON technology.

The next step in optical transmission network will be 800G and end-to-end photoelectric exchange. With Huawei’s 800G solution, the backbone network is switched from single plane to 3D-Mesh to eliminate network congestion and the granularity ranges from 1 Gbit/s to 2 Mbit/s.

In 5.5G era, autonomous networks powered by AI will bring new capabilities across industries. Industries across the world will be integrating AI into their production process. It is projected that by 2025, the AI adoption rate of enterprise production processes will exceed 75 percent.

The breakthroughs in 5.5G IoT technologies, represented by Big Uplink, Redcap, NB-NR, and Passive IoT, will help the 5G IoT market grow rapidly and exceed US$40 billion by 2026, according to Wang.

At the same time, more and more robots will participate in the production process, and the collaboration of man-machine complex scenarios will put higher requirements on the next generation industrial field network.

On computing front, the 5.5G era will create greater demand for computing power, but the bottlenecks associated with computing power supply needs to be addressed.

Huawei estimates  that by 2030, the general computing power will increase by 10 times and the AI computing power will increase by 500 times. This will be achieved through advancements in full peer-to-peer interconnection architectures.

However, the bottlenecks associated with computing power supply restrict further release of computing power demand, Wang said. To address this, the architecture, software, and system levels need to undergo further innovation.

On the storage front, data-centric storage will break through existing limits in storage architecture. It is estimated that future storage will improve storage performance by 10-fold through data-centric hardware and software architecture and diversified data application acceleration engines.

With full-stack AI native, L4 highly autonomous driving networks (ADNs) will become a reality in 5.5G. Full-stack AI native, from network elements to networks and services, will accelerate breakthroughs in ADN technology. The results of new innovation, such as compression algorithms for hundreds of network indicators and unknown fault identification by AI foundation models, will be widely applied in the 5.5G era, Wang stated.

In telecom industry, for example, full-stack AI empowers carriers and promotes the transformation of key services and networks to L4 autonomous driving network in 2025.

The 5.5G era will also be marked by the innovations around green technology and system-level innovations to enhance energy efficiency. The ITU-T has adopted Network Carbon data/energy intensity (NCIe) as the unified energy efficiency metric to guide the industry’s green development roadmap. Huawei’s innovative solutions for green sites, green networks, and green operations are designed to increase network capacity and cut energy consumption per bit, Wang said.

Considering these developments around 5.5G, Wang proposed three recommendations for the industry stakeholders.

  • The industry needs to work closely together to define the vision and roadmap for 5.5G.
  • The industry should define technology standards within the standards frameworks set by 3GPP, ETSI, and ITU.
  • All industry players should work together to promote a thriving industry ecosystem by incubating more use cases and accelerating digital, intelligent transformation.

Rajani Baburajan