Huawei demos 5G uplink-downlink decoupling tech

Huawei has showcased its ability to improve 5G coverage, capacity, and user experience by carrying uplink data via 4G LTE bands and downlink data on 5G bands.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Huawei and EE's 5G test site

(Image: Huawei)

Huawei has demonstrated separate uplink-downlink (UL/DL) decoupling technology across a 5G-LTE network deployment in London as part of its strategic partnership with BT and EE.

The trial network includes 5G New Radio (5G NR) and LTE co-site deployments, separating UL/DL onto different bands. According to Huawei, this improves coverage and capacity across the C-band by using 4G bands to carry 5G uplink data.

"In the 5G era, the available bands for operators will increase, and the coverage of higher bands such as C-band will become a major barrier to deployment. To solve this problem, networks need to make use of multi-band coordination to eliminate higher band coverage bottleneck," Huawei 5G Product Line president Yang Chaobin said.

"5G UL/DL decoupling effectively enlarges C-Band coverage to achieve C-Band and 1.8GHz co-site deployment with the same coverage, reducing the 5G site investment. The joint test result with BT/EE is a good proof of this."

While this marks the first public demonstration of the technology, Huawei has also been working with Intel on 5G UL/DL decoupling technologies in Beijing.

The 3GPP standards group has already accepted UL/DL decoupling, with the technology to become standardised in Release 15 at the end of next year.

Huawei last month also announced the completion of dual-connectivity technology verification during a 5G trial with Korean telco LG U+ in Seoul, providing 20Gbps downlink speeds by simultaneously linking two 5G base stations.

The trial took place using a 3.5GHz base station and a 28GHz base station at an LG U+ test base in the Korean capital, with Huawei saying that the dual-connectivity solution can also be used to link 4G and 5G base stations.

"Dual-connectivity is a technique that allows multiple base stations to transmit data simultaneously or alternately to a user so that they can seamlessly communicate with other users when moving between base stations," Huawei explained in October.

LG U+ had previously tested the technology in a lab environment between two 4G base stations.

"This time, LG U+ and Huawei successfully completed the verification between 5G base stations, and also set up a foundation for future 4G-5G 'dual-connectivity' in a 4G-5G heterogeneous network," Huawei added.

Huawei has been trialling 5G with carriers worldwide, in January attaining speeds of around 35Gbps with Singaporean telcos StarHub and M1.

The StarHub trial was conducted using 2GHz at the e-band -- which sits between the 60GHz and 90GHz frequencies -- using three layers of e-band, as well as 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM).

The M1 lab trial was conducted at M1's main operating centre in Jurong, and made use of mmWave spectrum in the 73GHz e-band as well as 4x4 MIMO; two-component carrier (2CC) uplink carrier aggregation; 3CC tri-band downlink carrier aggregation; and Higher Order Modulation 256 QAM.

Huawei, which plans to help implement 5G networks by 2020, similarly achieved speeds of 35Gbps during a 5G trial with Australian telecommunications provider Optus in November last year, which was likewise conducted over the 73GHz mmWave spectrum band using the Polar Code coding mechanism.

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