Refarming to Multiplexing: Huawei’s CloudAIR Can Super-Enhance Efficiency of Future Networks


An Interview with Huawei India |

Spectrum Cloudification can help operators do considerably more with their existing network infrastructuire and Huawei is ready to support with its solutions in this space

Global Telecoms market is fast moving towards a scenario where there will be no room for second class experience providers – only the best will survive. This is where Huawei is betting big on its innovations such as CloudAIR technology to help script truly future ready telecom networks that will prosper and grow in a data-hungry world.

Chandan Kumar, Director, Marketing and Integrated Solutions, Huawei India, speaks with Zia Askari from about the way Huawei India is moving ahead with introducing innovations in the Indian market and how it is helping telecoms address challenging scenarios in the spectrum and data space.

Chandan Kumar

What is your prime focus about the present situation wherein operators are using HD content and video and lot of focus has been on the experience side? In this scenario what are the priorities that Huawei has?

We are focusing on three domains. Firstly, it is connecting the unconnected so along with operators and all other stakeholders, we are working on that domain because when we talk about connecting the unconnected we are focusing on rural areas and secondly, we are utilizing the existing infrastructure and also the quality of service as it is important for India’s ranking in the broadband index or if it is about overall user experience as that is how we keep our customers in business through high quality service.

Thirdly, we are addressing the modern users need where there are several aspects which we define as ROADS which stands for  Real time, On-demand, All-online, Do it yourself and Social. In order to provide ROADS experience the existing network need to transform their network end to end.

So we are working on that expect where video can be part of the ROADS experience. Also we are working on the network transformation toward cloudification and cloudification is a step towards 5Gbecuse if your network is not cloudified and digitazied, you cannot have 5G network. So overall we are working with all stakeholders on these aspects.

How is Huawei helping telecom community at the forefront of innovation with regards to driving and managing huge volumes of data wave that is coming?

Keeping all the aspects discussed above in mind and the need to connect the unconnected especially rural areas that are still not well connected. In India, we have 600,000 villages and if you go by the recent government report, still 8-9% of the villages are not connected. If you dive deep down as to why these areas are not connected, you will find that it does not make a business case for operators, second the geographical condition of those areas are such that connecting it is very difficult and for that you need to have some kind of innovative solutions.

Another challenge is that commercial power is not available and if you deploy a network which works on diesel or unconventional sources, it will become very expensive.  So to address this we are offering very innovative solutions.

Secondly one is – how to utilize the existing infrastructure so to give you an example of copper infrastructure but the operators think that this cannot be used to provide high speed broadband. So we are providing innovative solutions where we can still use the existing copper to provide 100Mbps throughput on existing copper infrastructure.

Also, now the technology has standardized where we call it vectoring and zeroed fast and in India, we have already deployed that. So these can be used to provide broadband on existing infrastructure which can be used for next 5 years.

The Bharatnet project by government of of India is fully dependent on fibre infrastructure and laying fibre infrastructure is a very time consuming and expensive work. Upon consultation with the stakeholders, we have come to the conclusion that instead of completely relying on fibre, we can utilize microwave technology wherever the fibre has not reached.

The beauty of microwave is that it can used upon being deployed and once fibre is available in that route, the link can be taken out and applied in an area where it does not exist.

Earlier the challenge was the inability of the microwave to provide the huge bandwidth. We now have the new technology which is called eband spectrum. It is a microwave technology which uses the millimicro waves; 71Ghz, 56 Ghz spectrum. Using that kind of a spectrum, we can provide 1gb/s, 5gb/s, or even 10 gb/s.

Is millimeter wave available in India?

So that’s one of the challenges that it is not open. But we have had discussions with DOT wherein we have been informed about its availability soon. It can be utilized in areas that require high bandwidth and also the highly densely populated urban areas where fibre link is difficult.

Operators look for innovative solutions based on the spectrum efficiency. How do you look at those solutions consideration the situation in India given that Huawei is the leading vendor?

The challenge is the existence of multiple spectrums, bands and technologies. Considering that 2G, 3G and 4G customers exist, they need to have the networks in place and spectrums utilized.

We recently showcased CloudAIR, which is Cloudification of spectrum, in MWC 2017 wherein we feel that instead of spectrum refarming, we can move towards spectrum multiplexing. Hence, we can have a pool of spectrum which can be utilized depending upon its application. This will enhance the efficiency in the spectrum and pave another move towards cloudification.

What does the term “CloudAIR” mean?

We call it spectrum multiplexing; proceeding from spectrum refarming to spectrum multiplexing. Operators still need to keep 2G spectrum because customers are still buying in it. Even by the end of 2020, there would still be 25% 2G customers globally. But when they move towards spectrum cloudification, depending upon the requirements of the service, they can allocate the spectrum. Hence, customers who use the small portion of 2G spectrum to utilize it either for calls or by owning 2G handsets can also avail the spectrum for 4G services.

How do you look at the applications of these technologies in India?

It is a positive movement towards 5G with regards to the evolution from voice and just data services. This technology will add value wherein the wireless and mobile technology will be used in the verticals. CloudAIR is going to direct the utilization of this mobile technology across industries. Some applications needs well off carrier, channel and bandwidth.

IoT sensors need to transmit some bits or pulses. There will be some applications which need huge bandwidth like virtual reality, driverless car. The latensity requirement of each application is also quite different.

When the progression towards CloudAIR happens, the spectrum will be allocated dynamically based on its requirement. My equipment will be intelligent enough to allocate the spectrum for an application based on the same.

What is your opinion about the operators trying to build and future proof their networks? How will these technologies and revolution towards 4.5G or even 5G shape the future networks?

Our present engagements are heading towards the right direction. When they buy new products, conditions about equipment being SDN are specified. So, they are purchasing the hardware which is future proof. Few years back they were moving towards IP creation, during the movement towards 3G.

Now the transformation is for the cloud era where SDN and will play major role. The equipments which they are being purchased consist of those features. Core network will be the first piece that will be cloudified or digitized. Many operators are also moving towards cloud code. Similarly, when 4G is being deployed, equipments with capabilities are used. It very clearly shows that it will be helpful for the migration towards 4.5G and 5G.

How does Huawei look at the potential of 5G today? There are varied thoughts coming forward from the industry. Many proponents of 5G say that this is going to be the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) which is going to primarily drive the intake.

There are two aspects to look at. First, the application and service of 5G; second is the network transformation which will be in different phases. Some of the features of 5G which are ready for adoption are being adopted in 4G, which is termed as 4.5G.

This is helping the operators in utilizing their mobile network across industries like IoT, transport industry, health and agricultural sector.

Applications were designed after 3G networks were available. Similarly, bandwidth hungry applications came forward when 4G networks were deployed. 5G deployment will happen maybe towards end of 2019 or 2020. The designers are developing the applications now based on the features which 5G will be able to provide. For example, driverless car services which will be successful when we have latency of less than 1 millisecond that a huge bandwidth of 5G will be able to furnish. So applications are being developed first, followed by technology.

Driverless car, artificial and virtual reality are being actively pursued by operators in telecom eco-system. Data compression technology is going to play a critical role towards delivering right experience at the end of the demonetization. So being the leader of the team in this telecom segment, what are some of the innovations that Huawei is working on with regards to data compression?

Data in India is growing at a rate of almost 100%. The pattern and nature of data are changing too. Videos are getting generated more. Managing video data is completely different from old traditional data. Cashing and compressing become very important for high data. The quality of video content is another crucial aspect.

We are moving towards HD, 4K, 8K videos which will consume high bandwidth. So, we are now adopting these technologies within the access product system. If the access node has to serve the customers which are in its vicinity, it is not necessary to have a dedicated channel from the access node to the core network. Because it will occupy that channel till the download finishes.

We are trying to provide a solution where the cashing can be done locally so that only the last leg of the complete end to end network is used and is delivering the data and rest of the networks is free for other services. Hence, in our products itself, the compression and local cashing features are been done. Video content is the new area which will help our customers monetize the data networks.

Though, we are not a big player in video content acquisition or in content generation but we are providing them solutions, which can help enable them to become video service providers. We can provide them like content aggregation, solution, and video on demand which will help them to roll out the video services and hence, monetize the data network.


What is the cloud strategy that you are presenting to the telecom community today?

We call it all cloud or end to end cloud. Excess network is about cloudification of the spectrum. And then we have, cloud fix excess network where there are clear boundaries between the different kinds of customers. Pieces are separate for home network or entrepreneur customers.

We are trying to integrate cloud fix excess network where only one network will be able to serve different kinds of customers. We also have cloud metro network which is nothing but shortly defined wide area access network SDM wise say PSDM, transport SDM and SDM for IP network so excess aggregation of network for cloud based architecture.

And fourth is the cloud core which will help our customers to use the time to market. Just for example, the OTT players who are quickly responding to their customer needs while the traditional telcos want to roll out new service, they will take time to do it but if they are new to cloud architecture, even then they would be able to roll out the service quickly on completion of the core so we are talking about the access of the core network on cloud architecture which makes their network flexible, agile and make them service their customer demands.