India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has assigned 3400-3600 Mhz band range for companies to showcase 5G technology use cases. India is still in a transitionary phase where 5G trials are being conducted. Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, has surged to the top in helping the country’s telecom companies like Airtel and Vodafone-Idea for 5G trials. Even though there may be a few concerns related to national security, the government has not ruled out its involvement for the eventual rollout of services.
The company recently deployed the country’s first smart massive MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) optimisation based on AI technology for Vodafone Idea network. The MIMO optimisation helps create a pre-5G network for the participating networks which will be made to full-fledged 5G network in coming time.
“The deployed solution will enable Vodafone-Idea to enhance its pre-5G Massive MIMO network. Adding artificial intelligence capabilities to India’s largest deployment of massive MIMO for enhancing user experience is a further testament of our commitment to creating a future-proof network for the digital era,” stated Huawei.
Challenges With 5G Rollout For Indian Telecom Operators
5G has its unique optimisation challenges as it brings more complexity on the table. While 4G has 200 network optimisation parameters, 5G has over 10,000 making it extremely challenging for telecom players to find the ideal parameter combination for each base. It is here where AI comes into the picture, according to Huawei. The smart algorithm can analyse data from 4G base stations and predict network coverage, along with the problems that 5G deployments may face.
Companies have tried to manually set a network combination pattern for 5G, without much success because there could be hundreds and thousands of parameter combinations even for 4G networks. Through Huawei’s smart MIMO optimisation, the optimal parameter combination is obtained in a short term by means of iterative optimisation and intuitive combination of configuration parameters within one week.
How Huawei’s Smart Massive MIMO Works
Huawei’s Smart Massive MIMO AI solution uses a random forest algorithm for modelling and prediction, collecting and analysing data to optimise network performance. The technology adds automation capabilities to its network, improving optimisation efficiency, boosting cell capacity and enhancing end-user experience of the network.
To adapt to the growth in hotspot area traffic in recent years and minimise traffic cost per bit, operators have to optimise their networks constantly. 5G-based upgrades of 4G networks is a way to achieve this, helping telecom companies to enhance user experience. Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G rollouts which will be made available in India over the present 4G infrastructure requires optimisation to keep up with the required performance metrics. This is to ensure network speeds don’t drop while switching between 5G and 4G. The dual-mode creates optimisation issues for the network operators, needing massive MIMO support for both 4G and 5G for network performance. Massive MIMO makes use of massive antenna arrays and considerably enhances spectral efficiency and network capacity.
AI-based massive MIMO network enhances the user experience within the same set of spectrum band. According to Huawei, its FDD massive MIMO increases capacity by three to five times, effectively reduces capacity suppression in hotspot cells, and significantly improves user experience. The solution automatically obtains precise network parameter combination data, minimising the requirement for expert skills and preventing data import errors.
Huawei showcased AI-based massive MIMO services at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in 2019 which can help companies with the needs of continuous LTE evolution and deployment of 5G networks for its customers on top of existing 4G networks. Huawei has also been strengthening its AI product stack unveiling recently what is says as the most powerful AI chip in the world. The company also has expressed interest in AI solutions of different industries in India, where it can solve complexities and enhance user experience.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior technology journalist at Analytics India Magazine, and writes on the latest trends in analytics, AI and other digital technologies. Previously, he was a senior correspondent for IDG ComputerWorld and CIO. Vishal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org