Since Huawei first introduced the innovative wireless to the x (WTTx) solution (also known as fixed wireless access, FWA) to the industry three years ago, this solution has developed rapidly in the mobile market. It is also widely regarded as the foundation 5G service that will most likely be put to commercial use first. In emerging markets (EMs) such as South Africa, most of the new broadband users are wireless broadband users due to the prohibitive cost barriers associated with fixed-wireline connectivity. In developed countries such as Japan, New Zealand, Germany, and Finland, WTTx is also a major driving force in home broadband (HBB) growth, augmenting existing wired connections or to provide high quality complementarity.

Huawei WTTx solutions include wireless to the home (WTTH), wireless to the building (WTTB), wireless to the enterprise (WTTE), and wireless to the camera (WTTC). Featuring simple deployment, competitive cost and nomadic access, 4G LTE–based WTTx has been quickly commercialised and popularised by 180 operators around the world. But how can we further innovate the WTTx solutions to make it a viable alternative to fibre, as the 4.5G and 5G era approaches?

This has been answered by Air-Fiber, an enhanced WTTx solution for Ems, launched by Huawei during AfricaCom 2018. The innovative Air-Fiber solution requires no trenching during network deployment, greatly reducing the capital expenditure (CAPEX) and time-to-market (TTM). Cables and on-premise installation are not required in this solution, which can be optimising after-sales maintenance and reducing the operating expenses (OPEX) associated with sales, activation, and maintenance.

According to the financial reports of some operators, Air-Fiber demonstrates excellent profitability and ROI prospects. For some operators, the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortisation (EBITDA) margin of WTTx services is even higher than that of mobile services. In EMs with weak broadband coverage, operators can use the Air-Fiber solution to quickly provide broadband services for vast areas and across lucrative enterprise verticals.

In the 4.5G and 5G era approach, the Air-Fiber solution will meet higher broadband requirements of home users, such as higher throughput, ultra-low latency for online computer gaming, multi-channel/multi-user HD video streaming, and even 4K TV.

5G will be put into commercial use in 2019. With decades of strategic focus on ICT, Huawei is the first in the world to have a full range of end-to-end 5G product solutions. On the network side, some key 5G technologies such as Massive MIMO have been commercialised in many countries. Massive MIMO significantly improves spectral efficiency and increases the eNodeB capacity several times over. Huawei also provides a diverse range of exclusive eNodeB-CPE coordination features to further improve the eNodeB capacity, helping operators offer fibre-like experiences and cost-competitive services.

With the expertise and decades of experience, the focus has been shifted from how the global ICT giant can be ready for 5G, to how to make 5G and its solutions complementary to each other to fully unleash the potential of ICT industry. As the most likely first commercial use case of 5G, WTTx can tap unlimited possibilities and provide more services for more industries in the future. 5G will make WTTx more powerful and competitive, and bring vibrant growth to operators.

Huawei WTTx Solution

WTTB: The solution connects outdoor CPEs to routers to provide high-speed broadband access services for families and enterprises. Outdoor CPEs feature higher antenna gains as signal penetration loss is avoided. The throughput of an outdoor CPE is generally 2-3 times that of an indoor CPE at the same location in the same network. WTTB is suitable for providing high-speed broadband services for multistoried residential buildings, small villages, and small enterprise offices due to the low cost per user.

WTTE: It connects the outdoor units of outdoor CPEs to the routers of small and medium enterprises to provide high-speed broadband, private line, voice call, and virtual private network (VPN) services.

WTTC: With outdoor CPEs that feature high rates and reliability, WTTC facilitates video surveillance deployment. WTTC allows remote enterprises and plants to perform video surveillance and upload in scenarios that were previously impossible or unfeasible due to lack of wired broadband access. In Europe and the Asia Pacific region, some operators are considering the deployment of WTTC in factories, mines, and fisheries to help resolve scenario-specific problems. With excellent coverage performance, outdoor CPEs can achieve higher connection rates comparing to the smartphones. Therefore, WTTC that uses outdoor CPEs is suitable for the aforementioned industries and enterprises.