At present, a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation are emerging around the world. The new generation of digital technologies represented by 5G, big data, cloud computing, and AI are changing with each passing day. The digital and intelligent transformation of traditional industries is the inevitable trend. As the core engine of New Infrastructure Construction, 5G has huge potential in supporting this transformation of social economy.
The vertical industries vary widely, and so is their requirements for the communication network. There exist huge differences between ToB and the traditional ToC fields in terms of latency, reliability, rate and self-service capability. The general ToC network basically adopts the best-effort service strategy for the end users, and more attention is paid to network-level KPIs. In vertical industry applications, basically, each terminal has definite requirements for delay, reliability and bandwidth, and requires user-level performance guarantee. In addition, the performance guarantee results based on each service flow granularity should be presented to the end users. To cope with the challenges from the vertical industry, ZTE proposed the Precise RAN solution. Its core idea is to properly apply the radio network functions, allocate radio resources reasonably, to match service requirements accurately. While ensuring high service quality, it also maintains a high efficiency of radio resource utilization. In this way, Precise RAN solution enables 5G private network has the necessary commercial competitiveness.
Figure 1 Six ability modules of Precise RAN solution
ZTE's Precise RAN solution includes the following aspects:
Precision planning: The first step in private network construction is to determine the network architecture. The isolation, deployment costs, deployment time, and O&M modes should be fully considered in the selection of the architecture. According to resource sharing, industry private networks can be divided into wide-area virtual private networks, regional virtual private networks, and physical private networks. Generally, the wide-area virtual private network is applicable to wide area service scenarios, such as smart grid, smart city, smart scenic spots, new media, and Internet of Vehicles. The regional private network is applicable to local parks, such as industrial manufacturing, transportation, logistics, port terminals, high-end scenic spots, and urban security. The physical network is applicable to closed local areas, such as mines, oil fields, nuclear power stations, High-precision manufacturing parks.
As to the wireless network planning, vertical industry differs from traditional ToC scenarios in three aspects:
- Performance from area to spots: The traditional eMBB network planning focuses on the overall network performance, while the industry-specific precision planning focuses on the performance of a single terminal.
- Requirements model from one dimension to three dimensions: The traditional eMBB network planning is based on the assumed service bandwidth, while the industry-specific precision planning is based on the definite three-dimensional service requirements including bandwidth, delay and reliability.
- scenario from assumption to clarification: Radio coverage of traditional ToC network is classified by statistics of building height and building density, while the radio environment of the industry application is clear and complex, and feature analysis is based on specific scenarios.
Precision slicing: Network slicing logically divides operator networks, isolates resources from services, and thus virtualizes a physical network into multiple logical sliced networks. Different levels of service data can be transmitted on different network slices to meet differentiated requirements for data rates, security, and reliability.
Precision identification: In industrial application scenarios, there are many different service types with different requirements. To implement accurate service guarantee in wireless networks, one must first identify each service flow and accurately understand service attributes, thus match applicable wireless resource scheduling functions and set appropriate parameters to meet expected results.
Precision scheduling: Due to security and efficiency of production operations, some service in industrial application are highly sensitive to latency and reliability of data transmission. Therefore, wireless network needs to enhance its scheduling capability after precise identification, such as with dynamic conservative scheduling, with pre-scheduling enhancement, with latency-based scheduling, and flexible orchestration based on wireless environment and execution results, to guarantee low latency and high reliability in data transmission.
Precision measurement: Industry customers pay more attention to service experience especially for transmission delay and reliability. Therefore, wireless networks need to refine the granularity of performance statistics to each service flow, and provide a more elaborate presentation particular for delay measurements, so that industry customers can better monitor service status.
PrecisionO&M: Precision O&M is enhanced to meet various ToB requirements. With the features of slice self-configuration, fast service provisioning, self-optimization of antenna weights and fast troubleshooting of delay-type faults, the efficiency of ToB network O&M is greatly improved.
With the joint efforts of partners, ZTE's Precise RAN solution has been applied in many fields such as power, factories, ports, mining, and rail transit. In the power industry, ZTE has collaborated with the Southern Power Grid and China Mobile to set up the world's largest and most comprehensive 5G+ smart grid application demonstration zone in the Nansha region of Guangzhou. In the intelligent industry, ZTE and China Telecom have collaborated to build a 5G virtual private network in the Binjiang 5G manufacturing base of ZTE Nanjing, to practice the concept of "Manufacturing 5G by 5G." In the port industry, we worked with China Unicom and Tianjin Port to achieve unmanned trucks and remote shore bridge control. More application cases will be explored in the future.
At present, the development of 5G has entered a key stage of integration and innovation, and the trend of multi-party collaboration among communication service providers, equipment manufacturer, and vertical industries is taking shape. As the road builder of digital economy, ZTE will continue to work hard to create value for vertical industries with Precise RAN solution.