LTE Innovation of the Year: 4G Cloud Radio
ZTE walked away with two Reader’s Choice Awards, capping off a year that had already seen the company rake in a number of accolades for its work in LTE and FTTx. It’s also been building up both businesses in 2013. According to ZTE, it has the biggest market share of China’s LTE market, and by October had 65 commercial LTE contracts under its belt, while its PON business has maintained its annual growth rate of more than 30%
The company’s 4G Cloud Radio solution – launched in February this year – stands out in part because of its innovative use of software-defined radio, which allows it to improve network performance by adapting to existing transmissions and use existing backhaul assets to assist in interference control. More to the point, says David An Wei, ZTE’s regional CTO, cloud radio enables dynamic coordination and guarantees a smooth user experience, especially on the cell edge. “The ‘cloud’ element is a reference to the solution’s elasticity – the ability to deploy innovative technology such as ‘super cell’ dynamically and give improved user experience at the cell edge,” An says. “And because it is a software upgrade, the vendor can keep innovating and customers can benefit from fresh updates.”
Adaptability is key, An explains. “Cloud Radio can adapt all kinds of transmission scenarios and network architectures as well as base stations, so that radio network performance can be maximized based on existing transmission resources. Cloud Radio enables dynamic eNodeB collaboration with real-time dynamic clusters which are closely related to each user, so boundless collaboration is available and a high-quality user experience – even at the cell edge – can be guaranteed.”
As for how ZTE plans to top that, the company has a number of things in the 2014 pipeline, starting with its “Smart Pipe” solution that aims to provide a multipurpose end-to-end pipe for any service that delivers differentiated services and high-quality user experiences and with easy OAM. Also in the works: hierarchical QoS that provides differentiated QoS assurance configurable by specific user and service requirements; user and service identification (i.e. DPI to help operators track and analyze user behavior); backup and fast switching; and end-end pipe visibility for control, management and configuration, including zero-touch configuration for service creation and an automatic troubleshooting and fault repair system.
Why they won
4G Cloud Radio tackles the problem of poor user experiences at the cell edge by implementing cloud scheduling and cloud collaboration to eliminate inter-cell interference in time, space, and frequency. Their hybrid fiber/copper access solution reused existing copper resources, resulting in lower capex, opex and a future-proof broadband network that will cover 100 million households in China by the end of the year.