Recently, from China Telecom's official website, China Telecom decided to start the 2022 China Telecom 5G extended small cell equipment technology test, and the test results will be used in China Telecom's 2022 5G extended small cell product centralized procurement process. The announcement also stated that the 5G extended small base station tested this time consists of a three-level architecture of the main unit, an extension unit, and a remote unit, including two types of 5G single-mode extended small cells and 5G dual-mode extended small cells.
There is no doubt that the spark of 5G small base stations will set off hundreds of vertical industries. It is reported that the three major operators and equipment manufacturers are currently increasing the deployment of small base stations. With the strengthening of 5G coverage in depth and breadth, small base stations may usher in a big era.
Indoor Coverage is the King, and 5G Small Base Station Market Space is Huge
Today, the construction of 5G macro stations can be said to be a large-scale deployment in China. Some experts previously predicted that more than 80% of 5G traffic will occur indoors. Therefore, starting in 2022, 5G will focus on the construction of indoor base stations. This means that the market opportunities for small base stations are gradually emerging.
Wei Leping, director of the China Telecom Science and Technology Commission, once pointed out that the application scenarios of small base stations in the 5G era include coverage and capacity. In terms of coverage, according to the uplink edge of 3Mbps, 3.5G uplink is at least 9dB worse than 1.8G. Indoor coverage is a big problem, and small cells are one way out. In terms of capacity, splitting macro cells into small cells is the most effective frequency reuse expansion method. One BBU expands (2-10) RRU of small cells can be expanded by 2-10 times. Therefore, small base stations in the 5G era will usher in huge opportunities, and the number of 5G small base stations in the Chinese market is expected to be in the order of tens of millions.
Some professionals believe that in the long run, the scale of 5G small stations is much larger than the scale of 5G macro stations, and it is also much larger than the scale of DAS in the 4G era. It is conservatively estimated that the market size of domestic 5G small stations may be more than 30 billion yuan in the next few years.
5G Small Cell Will Be Deployed on a Large Scale for Empower Vertical Industry Markets
Judging from the current 5G small cell products on the market, major equipment manufacturers have launched their own products, such as Huawei 's Lampsite, ZTE 's Qcell, Ericsson's RDS, and Nokia's ASiR.
In the "emerging market" of 5G small base stations, no one is willing to lag behind, and so are the operators. At present, the three major operators are in full swing to accelerate the deployment of 5G small base stations. For example, China Telecom is actively exploring solutions to achieve indoor coverage with low-cost white box small cells in the 5G era. In the 5G era, China Mobile proposed a converged room division solution. Connecting multiple passive room division antennas to indoor small cells has the advantages of traditional DAS such as low cost, low power consumption, and easy expansion, as well as the visual operation and maintenance of indoor small cells. It is with flexible expansion and other advantages. China Unicom promotes the innovation of digital room division and plans different forms of digital room division products for different scenarios to form a differentiated deployment.
With the active deployment of major equipment manufacturers and operators, small base stations are bound to usher in a period of large-scale development. 5G pico-expanding small cells have the ability to split cells, and can gradually expand from low-to-medium-capacity scenarios to high-capacity scenarios such as hospitals and manufacturers. At the same time, as the needs of vertical industries are gradually becoming clear, small cells with simple deployment and flexible expansion will become an important solution for industrial networks.
Commercial Application Still Faces Challenges: it is urgent to coordinate the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the industrial chain
The continuity of the operator's centralized procurement can further activate the upstream and downstream industry chain, make the ecology of small base stations healthier and more prosperous, and provide operators with richer and more cost-effective network construction solutions.
However, it cannot be denied that for commercial deployment, there are still many problems and challenges in terms of technical capabilities, cost, and maturity of 5G small stations. In contrast to the public network and the industry's demand for digital distribution products, the current small cell industry chain as a whole presents a rugby-like feature of "thickness in the middle and thinness on both sides". The investment in the chip industry upstream of the chain is slightly insufficient, and the solution is relatively simple.
Therefore, in the subsequent development process, 5G small base stations should further improve product maturity, pioneer and innovate, improve network performance, reduce construction costs, pay attention to deployment, operation, and maintenance issues, provide the best solutions while reflecting the best cost-effectiveness, and fully Balance the upstream and downstream industrial chains, build a more solid foundation for commercial use, and achieve value-win with operators and the industrial ecological chain.
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