Mobile World Congress was of course dominated by the major Chinese operators and vendors. China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom all had large booth spaces, where the focus seemed to be on displaying the maximum number possible 5G use cases. These were often duplicated across booths: remote machine operation, remotely drive boats, automated drone flights, remote surgery, consumer VR and AR, cloud 5G gaming, AI driven security and surveillance.
From the operators there wasn’t a massive focus on the actual underlying network technology, although China Mobile had made a display of its antenna options, and was outside the venue with a display 5G site on wheels.
There was, of course, more on the networks from the major vendors ZTE and Huawei. Both of these displayed their site deployment options, featuring new materials, smarter interior connectivity and combined passive and active antennas.
ZTE was providing a live 5G network on the Qualcomm booth, with China Telecom. These remote radio units were beaming signal down to a range of device and app demos on the Qualcomm booth.
Both vendors were also pushing dual mode SA/NSA core capabilities.
Nokia was showing off a newly designed, high power 64T/R antenna for deployment at 2.6GHz. Inside its booth there were more antennas as well as demos of smart backhaul, and a network slicing concept showing how vRAN instances could be deployed to meet different SLA requirements.
Ericsson had a couple of launches just prior to or at the event. One was of a unified NFVi management capability across Central, Edge and Deep Edge (more commonly called far edge) NFVi deployments. It also had a dual mode end-to-end SA/NSA demo, with a SA/NSA chipset from MediaTek, and its RAN and dual mode core platform.
The rise of the open RAN was visible on many other sites. The O-RAN badge was visible on the China Mobile booth, and there were CU-DU-RRU demos on the Lenovo stand, featuring NFV-M capability from Altran. Baicells was visible on more than one booth with its O-RAN RRU and hub. And there were also vendors perhaps less well known in the western ecosystem such as H3C with its IPRAN platform.
Xilinx was showing Radio over Ethernet framing for the Open RAN DU-RU connection, as well as eCPRI capability. Ruijie Networks was another with a Hub and RRU unit, although not O-RAN in this case.
Another local vendor, KEXN, said it provides cabinets and enclosures to Ericsson, but also does antenna business with local operators.
Many Chinese vendors were present with a range of IoT-based smart city applications, often involving a smart lamp post or smart traffic signals. The usual gimmicks – robots mainly – were on display. GosunCN had a range of cellular modules for vehicle and robot apps. Sunsea had a wide deployment range for its AIOT range.
Click through the slideshow below to see more pictures from the event.