A Peek into Huawei's New WTTx CPE Technology

Wireless to the x (WTTx), a wireless home broadband technology also known as fixed wireless access, has been rapidly developing in the mobile market over the past few years. In 2017, the number of new WTTx users increased by nearly 40% globally. That was nearly as many new WTTx users as the new fiber to the home (FTTH) users for that year (excluding China). This growth outpaced cable broadband. WTTx is expected to be the first commercial 5G use case in the industry.

At the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC 2018), Huawei will release a series of new WTTx terminal solutions. These advanced solutions will allow operators to improve coverage and data rates and provide a diverse range of services.

Improved Coverage

Many countries lack adequate LTE coverage in suburban and rural areas. Weak LTE coverage has become the greatest obstacle to deliver superior user experience, especially in indoor scenarios. Operators in more and more countries, especially in North America and Europe, have begun to deploy outdoor customer-premises equipment (CPE) on a large scale to provide more reliable, fiber-like, high-speed broadband services. At a given location with given network conditions, the user-perceived throughput of an outdoor CPE is more than twice as that of a mobile phone. Huawei's experience working in many countries, including Canada, Ireland, and Italy, shows that outdoor CPEs on commercial networks can cover a radius of over 15 km even if working on a frequency band of 3.5 GHz.

Huawei's latest CPE, the B2368 is flexible and easy to install, minimizing the need for onsite installation by professionals, which is time-consuming and expensive. This outdoor CPE has an innovative, integrated design, with both directional and omnidirectional antennas. It is the industry's first outdoor CPE that does not need to be aligned with the base station, which reduces the total installation time by more than 25%. In many cases, users can install this CPE by themselves, significantly lowering the cost of service provisioning and OPEX for operators. The B2368 is a Cat 12 CPE featuring industry-leading radio performance and support for concurrency of 4x4 MIMO and 2CC CA. It can achieve a peak downlink rate of 600 Mbit/s.

Operators that cannot provide professional onsite installation services can connect indoor CPEs to external antennas to improve coverage. Huawei offers a directional external antenna with a gain of up to7 dBi (high-band). This antenna supports SMA and TS-9, the most commonly used interfaces in the industry, and a wide range of frequency bands, including almost all LTE frequency bands commercially used around the world from 698 MHz to 3800 MHz. Just like indoor CPEs, this exclusive, unique antenna can be installed by users on their own. However, indoor CPE with this external antenna are still not as good as outdoor CPEs in terms of coverage and reliability, due to signal penetration loss.

Higher Data Rates

Wireless technologies have tremendously improved air interface performance over the years. 3G technology achieves a maximum theoretical downlink rate of dozens of Mbit/s and an average user-perceived throughput of several Mbit/s. In today's 4.5G era, the theoretical rate reaches 1 Gbit/s, and the average user throughput reaches dozens of Mbit/s. 5G will further increase the maximum downlink rate to more than 10 Gbit/s, and the average user-perceived throughput on commercial networks is expected to reach hundreds of Mbit/s. In regions with the highest FTTH penetration rate, such as South Korea and Hong Kong, the average user throughput is just more than 100 Mbit/s.

By the end of this year, Huawei will launch the B818, a Gbps-level CPE powered by HiSilicon's latest chipset Balong 765 and which will be available for large-scale commercial deployment. The B818 supports up to 8x8 MIMO in the downlink, CA, and 256QAM to achieve a maximum theoretical downlink rate of over 1 Gbit/s. The B818 will become the industry's first Cat 19 CPE. With this CPE, WTTx networks can provide user experience equivalent to optical fiber networks.

5G commercial deployment is approaching, and Huawei has become the first vendor in the industry to provide E2E 5G commercial services. CPEs used for WTTx are the first commercial 5G terminals to be deployed. Huawei will showcase the industry's first CPE supporting dual connectivity of LTE and 5G NR at MWC 2018. This CPE supports all sub-6 GHz bands and a downlink rate of up to 2 Gbit/s.

More Services

From broadband access and voice services to the popular Video On Demand (VOD), online TV, and smart home services, the service demand of household users are growing in an increasing number of countries.

Huawei has offered an E2E solution to ensure the experience of VOD and online TV services and will launch a new solution featuring an adaptive bit rate (ABR) based on the characteristics of the wireless technology to minimize frame freezing, erratic display, and delay. Huawei CPEs and NEs support switching between multicast and unicast modes, which greatly alleviates the capacity pressure on backbone transmission and core networks.

The smart home has become a hot topic in recent years. At MWC 2018, Huawei will exhibit an innovative cross-industry product, a smart home gateway that integrates Google Assistant with a CPE. This artificially intelligent CPE supports voice interaction and features advanced network capabilities. It will become a powerful solution for operators to provide new smart home services.