22 Aug Esq. Jonathan Cartu Claims – ZTE pushes for the development of 5G SA network in Asia…
Jason Tu, principal scientist of NFV/SDN Solution, ZTE, has revealed the telecom network maker’s role in promoting the development of 5G SA in the Asia Pacific region.
What is ZTE’s view on the future of 5G Non-standalone (NSA) and 5G standalone (SA)? Which one has greater potential, and why?
SA is the target architecture of 5G in 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which will enable networks with new capabilities such as low latency and high reliability. In fact, 5G SA is a core network based on cloud technology. Compared with traditional 4G/NSA core network, SA is more flexible and extensible, and will be more economical in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO). Considering for large-scale SA deployment in China, it had been verified that SA technology and also 5G SA should be a more promising option from both technical and economic standpoints.
What is ZTE’s role in promoting the development of 5G SA in the Asia Pacific region?
At ZTE, we provide a complete set of solutions including the adoption of 5G NSA and 5G SA, and we also ensure smooth and seamless transitions and evolutions of the networks. ZTE can fully support customers to select various technical routes in accordance to their current network situations and business development objectives.
At present, the chips, terminals, and networks of SA networks are mature enough and can be purchased at an economic price in the market. When operators aim to expand customers in vertical industries, it would be a good choice for them to skip NSA and make a transition to 5G SA directly.
5G plays a major role in digital transformation in vertical industries. But each industry comes with different needs and challenges, how is ZTE going to tackle these issues with its 5G SA solutions?
Flexibility and extensibility are key features of 5G SA. 5G slicing is a typical network architecture within 5G SA. Different 5G network slicing with different KPIs can be customized for different vertical industries. For example, while a low-latency network slice can be customized for autonomous driving, a highly reliable slice can be used for industrial robots, and an energy-saving slice can be customized for an IoT network etc. Technically, these slices are virtually private networks on the same cloud and can be isolated even on certain hardware if necessary.
In China, ZTE can help operators set up a virtual 4G core network [Evolved Packet Core (EPC)/NSA] and 5G SA for retail customers, while providing 5G SA for a vertical industry customer on a unified cloud platform. The country-wide 5G SA network can be divided into multiple network slicing to serve different vertical industries with different network KPIs. The Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) technology is also used to provide completely different SA deployment solutions to cater to different industrial scenarios. For example, the automatic container shipment at the China Tianjin port deploys the 5G SA User Plane Function (UPF) to the port geographically to ensure low latency and data security loops in the port.
5G SA allows enterprises to take full advantage of 5G’s potential in terms of low-latency and high-capacity services. Could you elaborate on how enterprises will benefit from 5G SA both from technology and business perspectives?
ZTE has launched 5G applications in multiple vertical industries in more than 300 factories, mines, hospitals, schools and etc.
Could you please provide examples of actual case studies that ZTE have involved in 5G SA in Asia Pacific? Furthermore, can you outline some future projects in the pipeline?
Europe, North America and Asia Pacific are three main regions with advanced mobile services. With the launch of 5G, especially 5G SA, Asia Pacific is taking the lead as compared with other regions because of its continuous macro-economic development. The development speed is further enhanced with China’s strong mobile development momentum and the eager push for 5G SA.
China’s three operators, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, have all set SA as the target for 5G networks and have already started deploying and upgrading 5G SA networks in March 2020. SA can fully unleash the potential of 5G network and services, including network slicing, edge computing, and the value across different B2B vertical industries. For example, China Mobile has allocated a significant part of the 5G Core Network for provision to the B2B market, thanks to the capability enabled by 5G SA and 5G Core (5GC) networks.
One example of the capability rendered by 5G SA is by China Mobile in the city of Guangzhou (which is a 2-hour drive from Hong Kong) and the metro operator of Guangzhou. Metro stations are always crowded with passengers, especially during peak hours, therefore it is exceptionally important to guarantee the mobile bandwidth and services needed by the metro operator. Services that need support would include data transmission and maintenance of passenger flow control, etc. To provide guaranteed bandwidth and smooth services, 5G SA should by far be the best and perhaps the only solution to address this. The solution is called wireless Physical Resource Block (PRB) reservation. It is the industry’s very first wireless PRB reservation based on 5G End-To-End (E2E) slicing, including 5G terminals, 5G radio network, 5G bearer network and 5G core network. As compared to slicing based on Quality of Service (QoS), PRB-reservation based slicing provides dedicated PRB resources for the metro operator, with guaranteed bandwidth, service availability and service isolation. The running of the metro station is just one of the examples of the superior network performance and flexibility of services enabled by 5G SA. It is no doubt that 5G SA can bring new mobile dynamics for end users across many other segments, be it for mass market or specific business market use.
Besides China, in South East Asia, where there is also strong economic growth and industrial development, ZTE is also helping many local operators develop SA network and industrial applications. In Eurasia, such as for Belarus, ZTE works with a local operator and have conducted the first Voice over New Radio (VoNR) based on 5G SA network.
Furthermore, in Europe, ZTE had engaged with Orange and have trialed the first and largest SA trial network within the region. The uplink data…