ZTE demonstrates network slicing, 19Gbps speeds during China 5G trials

During the second round of China's national 5G tests, ZTE trialled latency, speed, massive machine communications, and network slicing.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Chinese telecommunications technology solutions provider ZTE has announced trialling several major 5G scenario tests during phase two of China's national 5G tests, including network slicing, in an effort to test its chips and equipment ahead of commercialisation.

The tests, which took place in Huairou, Beijing, were of continuous wide coverage; enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) across sub-6GHz spectrum; eMBB at millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum; low latency; and massive machine-type communications.

ZTE's eMBB at sub-6GHz test attained a peak cell throughput of more than 19Gbps with 28 spatial division streams using a 3.5GHz pre-commercial 5G base station, while its eMBB mmWave test saw a four-stream rate of more than 13Gbps.

Its latency tests achieved 0.416ms on a unified test platform using its own chipsets for eMBB, and a test of ZTE's massive machine-type communications achieved a rate of 90 million connections per MHz, per hour, per square kilometre.

"ZTE increased the overload rate of connected terminals by 600 percent by using the innovative multi-user shared access technology, and verified an equivalent massive IoT access performance of 90 million connections/MHz/hour/km2," ZTE said.

ZTE then used network slicing to construct a unified network on sub-6GHz base stations to test the above applications of speed, latency, and massive machine communications, with similar results.

"Test results showed that the single-cell peak rate reached 15Gbps, while the air interface latency was lower than 0.416ms, and the massive connectivity capacity was more than 90 million connections/MHz/hour/km2 at the same time," ZTE said.

ZTE had earlier this week said it would double its R&D spend on 5G from this year to reach 2 billion yuan (almost $300 million) in order to help commercialise China's 5G network by 2020.

ZTE has around 3,000 employees currently working on 5G R&D, with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently saying that total spending on 5G development in China is predicted to rise to 1.65 trillion yuan by 2025.

It is also working on 5G in Japan, last month announcing a partnership with Japanese carrier SoftBank to trial 5G over sub-6GHz spectrum at 4.5GHz across Tokyo. It will use its 5G network solutions with SoftBank in real-world conditions throughout metropolitan areas of the Japanese capital.

ZTE and SoftBank have been collaborating on pre-5G technology R&D including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology, with the partnership last month expanding to include 5G New Radio (NR).

"We have a long-term partnership with SoftBank in key 5G technologies such as Massive MIMO, and we are pleased to expand that work to accelerate 5G NR readiness," ZTE chief scientist Dr Xiang Jiying said in June.

"We are confident that ZTE will be one of the first vendors to deliver end-to-end 5G solutions."

ZTE announced its plans to release 10Gbps-capable 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz base stations that are compliant with 3GPP and 5G NR standards and identified spectrum bands back in February.

At the time, ZTE announced attaining 4G peak speeds of 2.6Gbps during a demonstration of Massive MIMO technology across frequency-division duplex (FDD) LTE, as well as connecting eight 4G terminals simultaneously.

The Chinese company unveiled its FDD-LTE Massive MIMO solution, powered by its MSC2.0 vector processing chip, at the end of last year after trialling it with China Unicom and China Telecom.

It also launched its modular 5G IT baseband unit with Intel in February, which is compatible over 2G, 3G, 4G, and pre-5G networks thanks to the use of software-defined networking and network-function virtualisation technologies, and supports cloud-radio access networks, distributed-RAN, and 5G central and distributed units.

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