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During the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) 2023, the concept of small box, big power and bigger business was presented via the LampSite solution.

Eric Bao, Huawei's President of Wireless Digital Indoor System (DIS) shared to Telecom Review his expertise on the importance of indoor network, why digital indoor system matters and the competitive edge of the LampSite X product.

Consumer Expectations Soar, Urging Indoor Network Investment

Starting off with an overview for 5G development, Eric stated that 5G is developing much more rapidly compared to 3G and 4G. It currently has 1.5 billion users around the world.

“For 3G, it took three to 12 years to accumulate 1 billion users. For 5G, it only took three years to accumulate 1 billion users. Now it's the fourth, and nearly fifth year, into the 5G deployment and we are already seeing 1.5 billion of users around the world.”

5G is gathering a lot of momentum, with more than 260 5G networks and around 4 million 5G base stations globally. The rapid 5G development is both an opportunity and also a challenge for operators.

Along with this, new services are emerging. Eric used the higher demand for advanced video streaming experience as an example of why operators must build an enhanced network.

“Videos are now turning into 3D format for consumers. And we also see that the usage and engagement for videos like Tiktok and others would require higher data rate as people spend more time on video applications now.”

As AI is fast developing, with its highly efficient content creating capability, it can drive the immersive services like AR/VR, glass-free 3D more and more popular among the consumers.

According to the global insight of Huawei, about 80% 5G traffic generated indoor, while indoor speed is only 1/10 of the speed outdoors, which showcases a gap to fulfil people's demand.

“Operators have fulfilled many massive MIMO base stations outdoors but the 5G network or construction indoors is lagging behind. This is a problem that should be solved to satisfy the society’s needs for better experience and more capacity from 5G.” and that's why “we need to be prepared in terms of indoor network.”

Indoor Target Network in 5G era: Different with what we have done in 4G

5G is expected to change the society, exceeding what 4G has brought to the table. This means that 5G must provide much better user experience than 4G to the consumers. Not only that, 5G is also expected to serve and help business customers and various industries to digitalize.

With this regard, Eric shed light on four key points of indoor target network in 5G era.

Prioritize high-value areas: The construction of indoor networks is not accomplished overnight. Operators can consider identifying high-value areas based on dimensions such as high-value terminals, high-traffic users and high user density, and prioritize indoor network roll out in these areas to increase return on investment.

4T4R on NR: As wireless networks evolve from 2G to 5G, outdoor macro stations have evolved from 1T to 64T. Now mainstream 5G terminals on the market support 4R, these terminals can only enjoy 1/4 of the experience on a 1T1R network, which is equivalent to 4G and not true 5G. In order to ensure a consistent indoor and outdoor experience, indoor networks should also build 4T4R to ensure that end users can enjoy the experience advantages brought by 5G technology.

All-optical networking: As we all know, the copper feeder of DAS will produce different attenuation for different frequency bands, which will lead to inconsistent coverage on the antenna. Moreover, as more spectrum resources with higher frequency bands are adopted in 5G era, feeder losses will increase sharply, making it difficult for DAS to evolve towards 5G, or even 5G-A, which have even more higher bands, such as 6GHz and millimeter wave. Instead, Optical fiber can provide relevant higher capacity, and its ultra-low transmission loss in high-frequency application scenarios is unmatched by copper feeders as well, so all-optical networking will be a better choice.

Diversified capability: The network shall support versatile capabilities which required by industry verticals, network with more add-on values will surely uplift new business success not only for operators but also for enterprises.

Digital Indoor Systems: Breaking Free from DAS Limitations

Eric also pointed out the four bottlenecks of using distributed antenna systems (DAS) to build the indoor network.

First, typical DAS only has 1T1R and that's why it has a big gap in terms of speed.  Comparing with this, DIS has 4T4R on NR, which matches the requirement for 5G terminals.

Secondly, unlike DIS, DAS does not support high frequency bands. For the power splitters and couplers of DAS, they cannot support the high frequency bands above 3.5GHz, which are expected to be used for 5G.

Another problem with DAS is the lack of support for measurement or locating capabilities, which are widely required by business customers.

Last but not least, DAS uses a lot of passive components, which makes it difficult to manage and control remotely. If there are faults in the components, it's hard to repair and maintain.

Huawei LampSite: Brilliant Solutions for Indoor Coverage

The LampSite digital system is connected using fiber, making it possible to uphold the evolution to 5G and 5G-Advanced technology.

“The LampSite X is the lightest and most compact product of its kind in the industry, the smallest module is only 1L and 1kg; you can hold this device with only two fingers,” mentioned Eric.

“It’s also easy to access the buildings, as it has a very unobtrusive appearance that blends well in the environment.”

Unlike DAS, the LampSite X can support a very wide range of frequency bands. It supports the frequency bands of sub1GHz, sub3GHz, C-band and mmWave, with the ultra-wideband and ultra-high integration design, LampSite X can bring indoor network from Gbps to 10Gbps with one box.

“LampSite X also has the features that are much needed by industry customers, including the capability of precision positioning, low latency, large uplink capacity and the support of RedCap. These capabilities will make us very attractive in the industrial segment, particularly suitable for deployment in settings like factories,” added Eric.

LampSite X also boasts a major innovative feature on energy saving. In indoor scenarios such as stadiums and shopping malls, the traffic can be quite different at daytime and nighttime.

“LampSite X can identify these different traffic scenarios and activate the deep energy saving when there is no traffic, resulting to a decreased power consumption that can be as low as 1w,” Eric remarked.

Without a doubt, LampSite X’s three-layered optical architecture is highly simplified, making it very easy to smoothly upgrade and evolve in the future.

“We need to work together with operators to build the optimal experience of networks beyond 5G. With such competitive products from Huawei, we are confident that we can help operators to build leading indoor networks,” concluded Eric.

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