Huawei calls them “Book RRUs.” They are small, cheap (low thousands and falling), and designed to go everywhere you need a signal. Lightpoles (as pictured), office ceilings, large classrooms, …
The units pictured have 8 antennas (4T4R) and a laboratory speed of a gigabit using 100 MHz of spectrum. Huawei claims reach of about 150 meters up to 50 meters high. (3D networking.)
Radios like this need to be managed through a central BBU – baseband unit. Huawei has been investing in improved software for the BBU.
The next step, which would require a more sophisticated radio unit, is “Distributed Massive MIMO,” a version of “No-cell” architecture. In theory, that can roughly double the capacity of the system.
Massive MIMO continuously adjusts the network and signals based on the actual demand and throughput of the user, measured in a backchannel. The performance improvement is remarkable, often 4-10 times.
A D-MMIMO system would combine the 64 antennas of 16 radio units optimize for the actual demand. That’s extremely challenging, but Huawei and China Unicom have an early system up and running in Shenzhen. See HUAWEI/UNICOM BREAKTHROUGH: “CELL-FREE,” “DISTRIBUTED MASSIVE MIMO”
Building 5G City Macro-Pole Networks, China Telecom Shenzhen Achieves Excellent 3D 5G Coverage with Book RRUs
[Shenzhen, China, April 16, 2020] China Telecom Shenzhen and Huawei have taken the lead in achieving the global ultra-large scale 3D networking that involves macro and pole base stations in China. With hundreds of 5G C-Band Book RRUs used, the deployment helps this operator deliver an undifferentiated experience in 5G-covered areas.
Book RRU is an innovative product that is small in size, lightweight, and easy to deploy. This offers an effective approach of addressing challenges associated with insufficient site resources. 5G Book RRUs enable significant improvements in 5G in-depth coverage and user experience in residential areas while increasing network capacity.
Commercial 5G Book RRU deployment of China Telecom Shenzhen on poles
In-depth coverage in residential areas, urban villages, upscale communities, and backstreet alleys is a long-standing challenge which has faced operators. Insufficient resources and difficult acquisition lead to difficult and time-consuming site deployment.
Lightweight 5G Book RRUs enable quick 5G deployment in residential areas by using walls, lamp poles, monitoring poles, and electricity poles as sites. This offers a quick solution to achieving quick deployment, helping eliminate coverage holes and offload network traffic.
Data rate tests of China Telecom Shenzhen with 5G Book RRUs
In December 2019, China Telecom Shenzhen completed the deployment and verification of the first 5G Book RRU. 4T4R 5G Book RRUs were used in the project.
After the recent 5G Book RRU deployment, tests show showed that the downlink speed exceeds 1.2Gbps on commercial mobile devices (Mate30 Pro) when the network spectrum is 100 MHz. With Book RRU deployment, coverage holes 150 to 200 m away from streets are eliminated and indoor in-depth coverage of low-rise buildings standing 50 m to 100 m above the ground is achieved.
This places the operator in a unique position to meet the capacity requirements in value hotspots in Shenzhen, such as school campuses, office buildings, business districts, and scenic parks. Book RRUs supplement macro base stations with in-depth coverage and hotspot capacity absorption. This improves user experience and releases suppressed traffic while also increasing ROI.
Shenzhen Telecom is the pioneer of digital construction. Under the overall construction plan of the new infrastructure construction China Telecom Shenzhen will continue to collaborate with Huawei to complete quick 3D networking based on 5G standalone (SA) technologies through combined deployment of macro, pole, and indoor products, enabling optimal user experience while securing 5G leadership