The emphasis Huawei has placed on a wave of investment in optical fixed line networks is bearing fruit. At MWC 2023, the company unveiled a range of F5G
(Fifth generation fixed network) solutions for vertical industries. For Gu Yunbo, who manages the part of Huawei that sells optical network products to enterprises, this is the start of something big: a new wave of “green technology and digital transformation”.
Since 2020, Huawei has been working with industry parties on nurturing emerging standards for all-optical F5G. The reason for this investment in F5G includes spiraling traffic volumes on existing fixed line networks, caused by the roll-out of 5G and continuing digital transformation efforts.
Huawei describes F5G as “future-oriented strategic infrastructure”. Gu foresees widely available “ultra-high bandwidth, with optical networks directly connected to desktops, Wi-Fi access points and [IoT] machines”. For end users, he describes the result as having “almost zero latency and zero jitter.”
According to the management consultancy EY, global expenditure on F5G is growing at a rapid pace (18% CAGR). By 2025, EY expects the market to be worth over €400bn annually.
Much of the demand for fiber networks comes from consumer-facing industries (including cloud-based gaming, AR/VR, UHD video, smart transportation and smart home applications).
But Gu also sees F5G opening up new possibilities for employee productivity and digital transformation.
Gu says: “Huawei has released five solutions for digital transformation scenarios in various industries. These include campus networks, WAN production networks, industrial IoT, data center interconnects, and all-optical sensing solutions.”
At MWC, Huawei unveiled a 50G POL prototype designed to upgrade campus networks. Initially, the aim is to support the roll-out of ultra-fast “Wi-Fi 7-oriented” green campus networks, particularly in educational and healthcare scenarios.
“In practice,” says Gu, “we find that although 10G PON can meet campus requirements in most cases, the rising use of AR/VR teaching, 3D medical imaging, and remote interactive office poses new requirements and challenges on network bandwidth and latency.”
Huawei has also been working on digital transformation projects that directly rely upon optical networking scenarios. In electrical power generation, for example, optical F5G networks, alongside video and sensors, will play a key role in enabling remote inspection of power lines.
To underpin solutions like this, Huawei unveiled the industry’s first end-to-end OSU product portfolio at MWC. Gu describes the portfolio as “building a reliable optical communication base” for energy, transportation and other industries.
In the interview, Gu also described three additional optical-related launches at MWC. These included a lossless industrial optical network solution to improve working conditions and efficiency in large-scale industrial scenarios and a high-precision optical-visual solution for perimeter inspection at large facilities such as railways and airports.
In a sign of things to come, Huawei has also been building F5G solutions for the data center, including storage-optical interconnects (SOCCs) for financial transactions where speed and reliability are at a premium.
“We are continually working with industries to promote wide application of F5G in various industries,” said Gu. “We believe that F5G, as it evolves, is going to strengthen the level of innovation and reshape productivity.”
Find out more about Huawei’s optical solutions here.