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Ecosystem Building Supports the Development of Deterministic Network

by Guang Yang | 10月 09, 2020

Chinese operators actively develop 5G B2B businesses.

China has become the largest 5G market worldwide in terms of the network scale and the customer base. According to MIIT, the number of 5G basestations deployed in China has been more than 600 thousand. The networks have covered all tier-3 and above Chinese cities. The number of active 5G users in the 5G networks has been over 130 million. With the network rollout reaching a milestone, Chinese operators are turning their priority to pursuing the business success of 5G networks. The B2B market would be a focus of the exploration.

Chinese operators are actively promoting the 5G B2B services. The transportation, industry campus, factory, hospital, mining, power grid and utilities are main vertical industries that operators are targeting. China government also encourages enterprises to launch the 5G B2B applications through industry policies and financial subsidies. The research entity of MIIT – CAICT – launched a contest of 5G B2B applications in June. More than 4200 submissions were received in three months. According to Chinese media report, there were already more than 600 5G Industry Internet projects deployed in China by July 2020. These numbers indicate that Chinese operators and enterprises are developing 5G B2B services actively and broadly. 

During Huawei Connect 2020 event held last month, all three incumbent Chinese operators introduced their progresses in 5G B2B market. All of them have deployed the dedicated 5G core network for the B2B market and provide a tiered network model to meet the diverse demands of enterprise customers. China Mobile’s 3-tier B2B network model is as below.

 

You Xiang

(Prioritized Access)

Zhuan Xiang

(Dedicated Access)

Zun Xiang

(Premium Access)

Key Network Technologies

Network Slicing, QoS, DNN

MEC, Enhanced Radio Coverage

Dedicated Basestation, Dedicated Frequency

Network Functions

Network Acceleration, Traffic Isolation

Local Breakout, Data Security

Local Breakout, Data Security, Super Uplink, ‘White List’ of Device Access

Services

Network OAM

Network Design and Optimization, Network OAM, Event Support

Network Design and Optimization, Network OAM, Event Support

Source: China Mobile

Deterministic network is a stepping stone for operators to develop 5G B2B business.

The progress of 5G B2B market in China proves that the 5G network capability can indeed meet the enterprise’s demands. The combination of 5G NR, edge computing and network slicing is the unique solution in today’s communications market that can simultaneously meet the requirements of reliability, latency and operation flexibility. This can create a great opportunity for operators. The overall demand for wireless connectivity in an enterprise is huge. Traditionally the enterprise deploys dedicated communication system for each application. Operators can provide a total communications solution, not only 5G but also other wireless technologies, to meet all these demands. This can extend the scale of economy and improve the profitability. In this process, 5G SLA capability for ultra-reliable and low latency applications can become a stepping stone for operators to enter the huge market, and can improve the stickiness of the enterprise customer.

The end-to-end cooperation is required to implement the service determinacy

Ultra-reliability and low latency is the main selling point of 5G B2B network. But in the live deployment, the reliability and latency are decided not only by the network but also by software applications, mechanical structure, etc. China Unicom introduced a case during Huawei Connect 2020 event. The root cause of a VR application stall in a smart factory project is actually on the VR application server. The application server sometimes transmitted the high resolution streaming to 4 VR devices simultaneously. This led to a peak throughput up to 1.1 Gbps over the 5G network. It exceeded the maximum downlink throughput of the network and made the network unstable. So China Unicom had to work with the application developer to optimize the application software.

The case indicates the necessity of the end-to-end integration and optimization. Only the true end-to-end integration, including the network as well as the application software and hardware, can guarantee the service determinacy in an enterprise environment. However, this kind of integration and optimization usually require a huge effort. In China Unicom’s case, the debugging and optimization took a long time, which would impact on the customer satisfaction.

Industry alliance as a good platform to improve the end-to-end integration

To improve the end-to-end integration and accelerate the time-to-market, Chinese operators and some vendors, such as Huawei, are working to make a “pre-integration”. The integration and the necessary test of 5G connectivity and industrial software / hardware will be done in the joint labs of telecom players and vertical industry players, before the system is deployed in any commercial projects. The pre-integration could save the on-site work efforts and accelerate the time-to-market, but will require the close cooperation between telecom players and vertical industry players, even before any commercial deployment.

The industry alliance could play a key role in this case. The alliance could gather as many industry partners as possible to build the concerns and identify the demands. Therefore, global leading players of telecom and vertical industries have formed the 5G Deterministic Network Alliance (5G DNA). Based on the alliance, telecom operators, network equipment vendors, industrial solution providers and enterprise customers can setup joint labs and organize the joint development, joint test, etc. to make an efficient pre-integration.  

The industry alliance can also become a sharing platform of experiences and resources about 5G B2B developments. During Huawei Connect event, Shenzhen Airport pointed that a systemic planning is important for an enterprise to build the sustainable business model and long term development strategy. The industry alliance can support member companies to understand the status and the trend of technologies and the market in order to make an effective feasibility study and systemic planning.

In a summary, the 5G deterministic network can enable operators to explore the opportunities in the enterprise market. The end-to-end industry cooperation and ecosystem building are key to the development and adoption of the 5G deterministic network. The industry alliance will play an important role in the ecosystem building process.

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