Key Huawei 5G products and services highlighted at MWC 2022

3 Mar 2022

Huawei booth at MWC 2022, Barcelona. Image: Leigh Mc Gowran/Silicon Republic

Huawei said it plans to continue its globalisation strategy as it launched a wave of new 5G products and services at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

Huawei unveiled a range of new 5G products and services at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, with a focus on industrial applications and sustainability.

MWC is an influential event attended by global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers and vendors. The event was back this year following the cancellation of MWC 2020 and a postponed 2021 conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Future Human

Speaking at the event, Huawei’s rotating chair Guo Ping said the company plans to increase its strategic investment in foundational technologies while it addresses two of the world’s “hottest topics” – digitisation and carbon neutrality.

“The global digital economy is developing rapidly and over 50pc of global GDP will be digitalised in 2022,” Guo said. “The demand for digital products and services has exceeded expectations. However, supply is a different story.”

Guo added that the Chinese tech giant has no plans to “retreat from the international market”, despite dealing with restrictions in the US in recent years.

“We are committed to helping customers who choose us to achieve the greatest business success,” he said. “We will continue our globalisation strategy, in standards, talent, supply chain and more.”

Here are some of the Huawei products and services highlighted at MWC 2022.

Industrial 5G applications

5G took centre stage at MWC for various companies, with Huawei being no exception. The Chinese tech giant shared a number of examples to show the impact 5G technology is having for businesses. It said it has signed more than 3,000 commercial contracts for industrial 5G applications, with a 100pc year-on-year increase from 2020.

One example is China’s Ningbo port, which is one of the busiest ports in the world. There, 5G has helped in the development of four remote-operated cranes, which has boosted productivity and led to cost savings.

Another example is Tianjin Port, which has 20,000 employees. Huawei said bringing in technology such as intelligent twins, autonomous driving, 5G, cloud computing and IoT means the location now requires 60pc fewer staff, as drivers can operate trucks remotely while no longer facing dangerous work conditions.

Some of the 5G industrial products Huawei shared at the event included an AR production assistant helmet and a 5G patrol robot.

The AR helmet allows factory workers to make and receive calls using voice commands. It also allows the person on the other end of the call to look through the helmet’s camera feed in order to help employees with tasks, which has useful applications for training and employee safety.

A Huawei AR headset in front of computer screens and a laptop.

The Huawei AR headset and a screen showing the live camera feed of a 5G patrol robot. Image: Huawei

The 5G robot, meanwhile, is designed to independently patrol sections of a plant or factory, with a camera that can see more detail than the human eye. These robots are designed to detect faults such as pipe leaks, which is then visually reported to a command computer.

Sustainability

Speaking at MWC, Guo said Huawei is paying attention to carbon emissions as it works on new digital infrastructure capabilities.

“We have already committed to making our products 2.7 times more energy efficient,” Guo said. “Our ‘more bits, less watts’ philosophy is helping us make breakthroughs in areas like theories, materials and algorithms.”

To support digital network providers, Huawei recently launched a business blueprint with five key capabilities it says operators will need to develop to achieve business success in the future. These include expanding services, innovating efficiently, leveraging resources, competing on value, and contributing to society.

At Huawei’s Day 0 Forum at MWC, the company shared details of its ‘green’ ICT architecture, which includes green operations, green networks and green sites. The company said third-party testing showed that its 5G networks have provided optimal experiences for customers in 13 countries including Switzerland, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

One sustainable element showcased by Huawei was its data centre designs, which use a combination of liquid cooling and free cooling by taking in air from outside based on the current temperature to create a hybrid cooling model. Huawei said this system can improve power levels by 15pc to 20pc, while its prefabricated construction model can reduce the carbon cost of building a data centre by 50pc.

Huawei has more than 830 data centres deployed worldwide, in sectors such as telecoms, government, finance and transportation.

Data centres have been a contentious topic in Ireland in recent months, due to their environmental impact and the toll they may take on the country’s energy supply. Last September, grid operator EirGrid predicted “electricity supply challenges” for Ireland in the coming years in part due to the growth of demand driven by large energy users.

5G transmission products and IntelligentRAN

On the first day of MWC 2022, Huawei unveiled its latest wireless products, including the new third-generation TDD massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) and FDD ultra-wideband multi-antenna products.

Vice-president and CMO of Huawei Wireless Solution, Gan Bin, said 5G’s large-bandwidth and multi-antenna technologies have brought “tangible benefits”.

“Our third-generation Massive MIMO and FDD ultra-wideband multi-antenna portfolios further improve network performance and energy efficiency,” Gan said during his speech. “They greatly boost operators’ confidence in building high-quality and green 5G networks.”

Gan also discussed Huawei’s new IntelligentRAN (radio access network), which is designed to bring intelligence to almost all aspects of a wireless network.

Huawei said IntelligentRAN combines technologies that can improve user experience by more than 50pc on multi-band and multi-site networks. It is also designed to maximise energy efficiency, while creating zero-fault and zero-downtime networks to help predict and prevent faults.

“Huawei’s IntelligentRAN implements zero-wait, zero-trouble, zero-touch networks,” Gan said. “It enables autonomous networks featuring smart service, optimisation, green and simplified O&M. Furthermore, it facilitates operators to explore new space and business forms of 5G.”

Gan was asked by Keith Dyer of The Mobile Network if Huawei’s IntelligentRAN is a response to the development of Open RAN that other operators are currently exploring. He said that Open RAN vendors pay great attention to the equipment side and cost reduction, and that the cost reduction goal has not yet been realised.

Open RAN differs from traditional radio access networks by allowing different parts of the network’s infrastructure to be built by different vendors. Last year, Vodafone and Dell Technologies announced a partnership to build the first Open RAN in Europe.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com