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  • Writer's pictureElise Quevedo

Embracing the advancements of technology. 5.5G is here now.

With the world moving at a faster pace than ever, higher requirements on 5G networks have arrived.

During Huawei’s annual Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) in Dubai, UAE, with a theme of “Bring 5.5G into Reality”, we learned about the current state of 5G development and future projections.


The event began with a livestream discussion between Huawei's Rotating Chairman Ken Hu, and the Director General of GSMA, Mats Granryd.

Hu said “Technology is changing so fast, and new demands are evolving every day, so our networks need to keep evolving too. Our industry as a whole needs to get ready for the future and maximize the value of investments in 5G – and that’s why we’re working so hard on 5G-Advanced.”

Hu also suggested that the industry should leverage proven 5G applications to drive 5G adoption at scale across more industries. Throughout this process, mobile operators can better position themselves to seize new opportunities in industry digitalization by strengthening their capabilities in cloud, industrial application development, and end-to-end system integration.

Granryd followed by saying “5G is driving digital transformation across industries and opening up enormous opportunities. In 2030, 5G will add US$1 trillion to global economy, with benefits spreading across all industries. Consumers are willing to pay more for good products. 5.5G by 2030 will have 5 billion subscribers and many interesting use cases are already emerging.”


In industries where digitalization and intelligent transformation are underway, new applications and scenarios have stringent requirements on uplink large bandwidth, deterministic latency, high reliability and precise positioning, making 5G technology evolution a must.

New 5G technologies, such as RedCap, passive IoT and Harmonized Communications and Sending (HCS), will open new opportunities for the mobile industry.

I was able to spend time exploring one of the use cases in the coffee industry where RedCap and Passive IoT were implented (see video here)

RedCap is short for Reduced Capability. This 3GPP-defined 5G capability is also known as lightweight 5G. It was designed to reduce terminal costs and power consumption by reducing the terminal bandwidth, number of transmit and receive channels, and modulation orders. So it is more suitable for large-scale commercial application of 5G commercial networks.

RedCap is expected to make a splash in the industry and consumer markets, which include the industrial Internet, electric power, and wearables.

Passive IoT (P-IoT) helps IoT devices collect energy by capturing radio waves from networks.

Common electronic labels are RFID-based. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. It is based on a simple principle: A label moves closer to a reader to receive RF signals from it, so that an induced current can be generated to give the label the energy needed to send information to and connect with the reader. P-IoT labels can receive signals from even a wider range of sources, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, and 5G networks. It allows labels to work without batteries, reduce costs and form factors, and protect the environments.

Currently, passive IoT has five label models, and it is developing rapidly to empower passive WAN connections across manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics.

Did you know, currently, there are more than 50,000 industrial 5G applications worldwide, and more than 10 million 5G connections in industrial settings?

5,5G is an enhancement to 5G with stronger capabilities and a wider scope of applications. 5.5G can be applied to glasses free 3D, IoV, intelligent IoT, and high end manufacturing.

Moreover, it helps protect 5G investments on live networks, allow for smooth network evolution with new technologies, and meet the growing demands of consumers and industries for communications network

One of the advantages of 5.5G is that its network capability is 10 times that of the current network. For example, with 5.5G, the peak of download speed of mobile users increases from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps.

Leading chip companies have all released modems and RF systems that are prepared for 5.5G, which are capable of 10-carrier aggregation and delivering the ultimatlenuser experience of 10 Gbps.

In addition to the 10 Gbps chips, RedCap chip modules have also been put into commercial use, and new Passive Internet of Things (P-IoT) devices will also be ready for commercial use shortly


Global operators are also actively engaged in 5.5G innovation. For example, more Ethan 20 operators in China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Germany, Turkiye, France and across the world are verifying key 5.5G technologies.

5.5G is necessary for bridging 5G to 6G.

In June 2023, ITU officially released the 6G vision. In general, it takes at least 10 years for a new generation of mobile technology to go from vision to large-scale commercial use.

However, faced wily the emerging requirements of consumers and various industries, merely waiting for 6G to come is no longer a wise choice.

The requirements for the development of a digital and intelligent society in the 5.5G era must be actively met.

The potential technological direction of 6G scenarios have been defined in the proposal for the IMT - 2030 6G vision. These include immersive communications, ultra - large-scale connection, ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), convergence of AI and communications, Harmonized Communications and Sensing (HCS), and ubiquitous connection. The development and research of such scenarios have already initiated in 5.5G

5.5G is the necessity for achieving 6G. On one hand, 5.5G will enhance the existing 5G capabilities and provide diversified new capabilities to meet consumer and industry requirements in a timely manner.

On the other hand, 5.5G will promote industry collaboration, help technology to become mature, and provide the latest direction or future development of 6G. 5.5G serves as a transition and connection between 5G and 6G.

And why continue to trust in these technologies? In my fellow leader Prof. Dr. Emre Alkin's words "Why shouldn’t we? We can trust technology and artificial intelligence like we can trust each other in society. The philosophy says that “man is the error”. If you can trust somebody who can make errors eventually, we can trust technologies which make no error in operations."

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the road to a smarter, faster, more efficient and productive era is already here. Evolution does not stop and neither do the people behind the tech solutions we see today.


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