A total of more than 700,000 5G base stations have been built and opened, 800 industry-oriented virtual private networks have been built, and application scenarios that are expected to be commercialized on a large scale have initially formed in more than 10 fields. The cumulative shipment of 5G mobile phones has exceeded 100 million… Since 2019, my country has In just over a year since the official license was issued, 5G has made great progress, bringing a lot of chemical reactions to all walks of life and making people’s lives more colorful.

“As the first year of large-scale commercial use of 5G this year, many aspects such as network construction, mobile terminal shipments, and user development have exceeded expectations, and the results have been remarkable.” In the “2021 China Academy of Information and Communications Technology ICT+ In-depth Observation Report” on December 15 Wei Liurong, deputy chief engineer of the Institute of Policy and Economics of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, said in an interview with Feixiang.com. At the same time, she also pointed out that there are still four major challenges for 5G to further release its potential, and the next 2-3 years will be a critical period for 5G development.

China’s 5G handed over a dazzling transcript

There is no doubt that China’s 5G has been at the forefront of the world in terms of network construction, mobile terminal shipments and user development.

Wei Liurong said that in terms of network, the development of 5G network has begun to take shape. This year, the number of 5G network base stations has exceeded 700,000, which is more than that of other countries combined. At the same time, the performance of the entire 5G network has improved rapidly, and the average download rate of the 5G network has reached hundreds of megabytes. Active progress has been made in the exploration of industry-oriented virtual private networks, and there are currently 800 virtual private networks.

From the perspective of technical standards, 5G technical standards continue to evolve along the two directions of enhancing 5G technical capabilities and supporting vertical industry applications. “The R16 standard was officially released this year, and the key performance, basic network capabilities and application capabilities of 5G have been significantly improved.” Wei Liurong said.

She further introduced: “The key core technology of 5G – end-to-end network slicing technology standards has made great progress. At present, the end-to-end overall architecture of 5G network slicing and the inter-domain pull-through test of equipment sub-slices from the same manufacturer have been completed. 5G Breakthroughs have been made in the research on industry virtual private network standards, and relevant progress has been made in network architecture, external service capabilities, lightweight UPF, and integration with industry LANs.”

From the perspective of the mobile industry chain, the 5G product market is developing rapidly, and 5G base stations and mobile terminals have achieved large-scale shipments, with Chinese manufacturers occupying a larger share. Millimeter wave technology equipment and networking tests have been completed, a step closer to commercialization. The main links of the independent networking industry chain, such as base station equipment, core network products, and mobile phone chips, are gradually maturing.

In terms of 5G applications, Wei Liurong said that in general, it is still in the introduction period. Although both operators and Internet companies are deploying consumer-level applications, phenomenal-level applications have not yet appeared, and consumers’ perceptions are not yet obvious. However, compared with other countries, our industry applications have made great breakthroughs this year, and many industry applications have begun to be commercialized.

Wei Liurong said: “According to the data of the participating projects in the third “Blooming Cup” competition, more than 30% of the nearly 1,300 participating projects have had relatively mature solutions and have begun to enter the stage of demonstration and commercial implementation. Nationally, this number is still bigger.”

In addition, Wei Liurong pointed out that the industrial application of 5G has initially formed application scenarios that are expected to be commercialized on a large scale in 10 fields including factories, mines, ports, medical care, power grids, transportation, security, education, cultural tourism, and smart cities. The acceptance of 5G industry applications in various industries is also increasing, and many industries have incorporated 5G into their informatization guidance or promoted relevant industry standards. Some industry leaders are also actively promoting the integration of 5G applications and their digital transformation.

“On the whole, 5G’s performance this year is still very good. Of course, there may be a certain distance from the explosion of 5G applications expected by consumers, but after all, the commercial development of 5G is still in its early stages, and we have to give it more time to develop. “Wei Liurong emphasized.

There are four challenges to further unleash the potential

Although my country has achieved very good results in the development of 5G, in terms of further unlocking the potential of 5G, Wei Liurong pointed out that it still faces four challenges.

First, the 5G network has not yet achieved nationwide wide coverage. Since last year, my country has built more than 700,000 base stations, but it is not enough to achieve wide coverage for the vast China. Many consumer-oriented, 2B2C applications, and industry applications in wider areas, such as unmanned food delivery, smart city management, ecological environment monitoring, and 5G mobile hospitals, still require the support of a wide-coverage 5G network. “Of course, this is a developing problem, and it will be effectively solved as the scale of subsequent network construction progresses.”

Second, the technological maturity of 5G supporting industry applications still needs to be improved. 5G technology still needs to evolve and develop. The existing R15 version cannot meet the needs of industry applications. It will take 1-2 years for the 5G R16 standard version that supports low latency and high reliability to be commercialized. At the same time, technologies such as network slicing and edge computing, which are more important in industrial applications, are expected to have large-scale deployment capabilities in 1-2 years. Compared with 4G, the service objects and application scenarios of 5G have undergone qualitative changes, but a single 5G technology cannot cover the whole world. It is necessary to continuously explore the optimization and upgrading of 5G technology in commercial practice.

Third, the supporting industries for 5G applications are still in the early stage of cultivation. The high prices of chips and modules in the 5G industry restrict the abundance of terminals in the 5G industry. In addition, the application industry related to 5G is still immature, and industries such as VR/AR and 8K are still in the early stage of commercial use, which cannot support the large-scale development of typical 5G applications. At the same time, 5G needs to be deeply integrated with next-generation ICT technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data, but the current solutions still need to be continuously adapted.

Fourth, the cross-industry industrial ecology has not yet been established. For 5G to empower thousands of industries, it must be integrated with various industries. At present, there is no exchange and docking platform for in-depth cooperation between the industry and the information and communication field, and there are certain difficulties in cross-industry cooperation. The 5G convergence application has not yet formed a stable industrial ecology. The current cooperation model is dominated by operators. It is urgent to cooperate with all parties, especially the leading enterprises with strong strength to actively play a leading role. In addition, the 5G convergence application standards that are already being promoted are also faced with problems such as a slow industry standard formulation process.

The next 2-3 years will be a critical period for 5G development

Wei Liurong pointed out that the policy dividends will continue in the next 2-3 years, the willingness of enterprises to invest is still high, and the acceptance of 5G by industry customers will gradually increase. “We must fully grasp this opportunity period, accelerate the development of 5G, support the overall upgrade of 5G, promote its integration with thousands of industries, generate more new products, new businesses, and new services, and promote the overall development of the digital economy.”

In terms of network, in the next 2-3 years, 5G network will gradually achieve wide-area coverage. Wei Liurong said that from the development stage of 3-4G in the past, 5G will still be in the stage of wide-area coverage in the next few years.

In terms of applications, Wei Liurong believes that consumer-level applications mature earlier than industry-level applications. “After all, consumer-grade applications are relatively simple, and we expect that consumer-grade innovative applications with 5G characteristics may begin to grow in scale in 2022-2023.”

In terms of industry applications, Wei Liurong said that the time for scale growth will be later, possibly after 2023. Of course, between 2021 and 2023, some relatively simple industry applications, such as live and monitoring of ultra-high-definition video, intelligent identification, etc., will start to be implemented in batches, but applications with higher technical requirements, such as immersive cloud-edge collaboration-based immersion Experience and remote control applications based on low latency and high reliability will gradually mature in the next 2-5 years.

In terms of technological innovation, the focus of future 5G innovation is still to improve the ability to support industry applications. “We can see that 5G network technology will be more prominent in the enhancement of the Internet of Vehicles, ultra-high reliability and low latency, high-precision positioning, and virtual private networks.”

In terms of industry, the product form of 5G will be more abundant. Industry modules have begun to increase in volume. It is estimated that China’s 5G industry module shipments will be nearly 500,000 in 2020, and will reach 10 million in 2022. The price of industry modules is expected to drop to less than $40. Second, the development of pan-terminals has been accelerated in an all-round way. 5G pan-terminals are expected to take the lead in popularization and iterative evolution in non-cost-sensitive fields such as industry and medical care, and continue to evolve in cultural education, leisure and entertainment and other fields. Some technologies and products and equipment of 5G edge computing will gradually land in the next 2-3 years.

In addition, in Wei Liurong’s view, the industry enabling platform will also be well developed. “In order to better promote SMEs and some traditional industries to better use 5G technology, there will be more and more industry enabling platforms based on 5G and cloud computing, providing everyone with cloud computing, edge computing, big data, artificial intelligence Intelligence and other comprehensive capabilities to meet the relatively common needs of various industries for positioning, speech recognition, graphic recognition, etc. At the same time, the service capabilities provided by the industry enabling platform will also promote the better development of the entire 5G application.”
Responsible editor: tzh


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