It looks like Huawei has launched a standalone LTE-in-unlicensed base station product for private use by enterprise customers*.
Huawei’s claim is that its OneAir@SmartX solution can converge three spectrum bands within one network product, giving enterprises the choice to deploy LTE in licensed bands, LTE in Unlicensed bands at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and also provide dedicated M2M connectivity at an unspecified “sub2GHz” unlicensed band.
With advertised LTE-WiFi co-existence features such as listen before talk and “other proprietary anti-interference technologies” the LTE in unlicensed version (Huawei calls it LTE@Unlicensed to match the product banding) looks a lot like the sort of LTE base station, tweaked to operate in unlicensed spectrum, that MulteFire Alliance members are currently working on.
Unlike main networking rivals Ericsson and Nokia, not to mention chip suppliers Qualcomm and Intel, Huawei is not a member of the MulteFire Alliance.
Huawei says that OneAir applied in Licensed bands can provide a max 400Mbps data throughput and up to 50km coverage. it can handle voice trunking and group, emergency and P2P calls.
In the Unlicensed bands the product can give coverage 2-3x that of WiFi, Huawei says. The M2M (EW-IOT) variant would provide coverage up to 20km and includes power saving mode features that can increase device battery life to 10 years. Like the Unlicensed version, eW-IoT “adopts a proprietary anti-interference technology to guarantee robust connections and successful data transmission” for real-time industrial meter and sensor reading.
Huawei’s approach with OneAir@SmartX is clearly to offer a range of air interface options, tailored to certain use cases, from the same platform. It says:
“Huawei OneAir@Smart X solution is based on the most advanced LTE technologies providing a highly integrated ICT wireless network. This innovative network carries multiple services for enterprise campuses, including SCADA, automatic control, data transmission for smart meters and sensors (which utilise the Internet of Things), video surveillance, broadband access, and voice communication including voice trunking and group calls. Enterprise campuses can easily deploy the unified network with the choice to either utilise frequencies from a dedicated licensed spectrum or the easily accessible unlicensed spectrum.”
(*We’ve asked for clarification from Huawei and will update when we hear back)