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Huawei is committed to 5G technology research

By Cecily Liu (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-05 06:31

Huawei strives to be an industry leader for fifth-generation telecom technology through extensive research and development investment and close partnership with universities internationally, a senior executive told China Daily on Tuesday.

"Working with academic researchers at universities allows us to participate in the process of creating globally recognized 5G industry standards. As well, we can help to commercialize technical academic knowledge," said Tong Wen, chief technology officer of Huawei Wireless Networks.

Tong was speaking at a press conference in London where details of University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Center are being announced.

The 5GIC, launched a year ago, is the world's first dedicated 5G center and an international hub for telecommunication research and innovation with large scale 5G experimental facilities and specialized laboratories for end to end network testing.

Huawei is a founding member and industry partner working with 5GIC. It is investing 5 million pounds ($8 million) into 5GIC and has provided expertise in and equipment for large scale radio access for the test bed.

Other industry partners working with 5GIC include Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, Vodaphone, BBC, BT, EE, Aeroflex, AIRCOM International, Ofcom, Rohde & Schwarz, and Telefonica.

Tong said Huawei's collaboration with 5GIC consists of a combination of partnership methods, including the provision of technology, helping to set 5GIC's research direction and focus, and joint research where Huawei's researchers work side by side with the academic researchers.

For example, Huawei will share its own technology for sparse code multiple access to the 5GIC test bed. SCMA is a technology that can improve spectral efficiency of wireless, significant for the first phase of the 5GIC test bed.

The outcomes of the 5GIC research will then be shared amongst all the industry partners including Huawei, Tong said.

Huawei's commitment to 5GIC is a part of the company's global commitment to invest $600 million in 5G R&D by 2018. Much of this investment will be devoted to Huawei's R&D centers globally, and cooperation with universities will help Huawei to bring good ideas and practices to its own research, Tong said.

Globally, Huawei is working with 20 universities on 5G R&D, and in Europe a big extensive cooperation exist in the UK and Germany. Cooperation range from partnership with individual professors to an academic team, depending on specialization of different universities, Tong said.

Although 5G is a global technology, Tong said that Huawei places great importance on the Europe market, because Europe has a strong tradition in setting global technology standards.

"Europe's ability to facilitate standardized technologies across diverse countries, it's complete technology supply chain, familiarity with the R&D process all contribute to its importance in 5D technology development," Tong said.

Huawei began investing in 5G in 2009, of which half of the investment is devoted to international markets. In July, Huawei has been elected to join the board of the 5G Infrastructure Association in Europe, which is an influential 5G research group.

The 5G Infrastructure Association represents the private party of the 5G Public and Private Partnership (5G-PPP), a 1.4 billion euro ($1.8 billion) joint initiative between the European ICT industry and the European Commission, aiming at standardizing, defining and developing the next generation of communication networks.

Tong said that participation in such research is important as it helps Huawei to contribute towards setting the industry standard for 5G technology so that its supply chain can all use the same standard for long term growth.

He added that Huawei recognizes that it takes many years to commercialize R&D results, therefore the company will continue to invest in 5G research. He said that academic results on 5G technology are invaluable as foundations for companies like Huawei to develop consumer focused technology and products.

5G technologies are likely to be commercialized from 2020. 5GIC's research covers a wide range of technologies including cellular mobile broadband and Internet of Things applications.

"5GIC is in a unique position to deliver next-generation communications through close collaboration with telecommunication world-leaders," said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of 5GIC at the University of Surrey.

"As the world's leading independent facility for trialling emerging 5G technologies and applications, this test bed will be used for proof of concepts, validate standards and test vendor inter-operability," Tafazolli said.

He said 5GIC will be the first of its kind to test new technologies that will allow for a high capacity, low latency, and energy efficiency and user centric 5G network. It will feed into critical developments in areas such as the Internet of Things and for applications where device battery life is critical.

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