First 5G Digital Indoor System in Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is one of Asia’s biggest traffic hubs in terms of passenger throughput. It handles over 60 million passengers every year, with more than 330,000 people passing through each day during peak seasons.
Today, Hongqiao Railway Station is a showcase for China’s railway system. The station’s 5G network is seen as a key milestone in Shanghai’s commercial 5G deployment. The railway station is laying a solid foundation for Shanghai as a ‘Dual-Gigaband’ city, with gigabit network speeds on mobile and fixed networks.
The ceremony at the launch event
As the 5G era approaches, one of the key concerns for telecom operators is how they can use 5G networks to meet the needs of high-density areas with thousands of people simultaneously using the network to make phone calls, access the Internet, and initiate mobile payments.
The 5G era offers high bandwidth, low latency, and massive connections. However, it uses high frequencies, which means network signals will lose a lot of strength when penetrating buildings. This makes it difficult to provide full 5G coverage in any indoor environment. A huge building like Hongqiao Railway Station, with a large number of passengers generating vast data flows, increases the challenge.
China Mobile Shanghai selected Huawei’s 5G Digital Indoor System (DIS), currently the industry’s only commercially-available solution for 5G indoor coverage. The product was developed in Shanghai and is now ready for mass delivery. Most 5G base stations are currently being deployed outdoors. Huawei’s 5G DIS will ensure that 5G network coverage extends into every scenario in every corner of the city.
“The 5G digital indoor system will deliver a new travel experience,” said Zhang Jianming, Vice Chairman of Shanghai’s Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology. “Passengers will feel they are getting more out of their journey.”
The peak rate demonstrated at the launch event
Announced in February 2019, the launch of a 5G network in Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station makes it the first railway station with a 5G DIS. The deployment aims to achieve deep indoor 5G coverage within the whole station by the end of 2019, providing easy access to fast network services for all passengers.
At the launch event, China Mobile Shanghai and Huawei demonstrated the 1.2 Gbit/s peak rate enabled by the 5G DIS. This means that after logging on to a network supported by the system, passengers will be able to download a 2 gigabyte high-definition film in less than 20 seconds. They will be able to enjoy a seamless entertainment experience as they wait, board, and ride their train. In short, 5G will reshape people’s lives by creating interactive services such as robot navigation and delivery of takeaway meals, groceries, and other consumer goods.
With the application of the 5G digital indoor system in more diverse scenarios, 5G railway stations of the future will meet passenger demand for high-speed connectivity and mobile payments anytime, anywhere. They will also support services including 4K High-Definition (HD) video calling and multi-way ultra-HD video uploading. These new services will create a better travel experience for passengers.
Peter Zhou, CMO of Huawei’s Wireless Solution, pointed out “5G will also provide a big boost to cloud services.”
“The railway stations of the future may be more intelligent than we can possibly imagine,” Zhou said.
This vision of the future led Huawei to invest consistently in 5G R&D from 2009 onwards, paving the way for its leadership of the industry today. Huawei’s technological leadership has resulted in 2,570 patents on 5G and made it the technology supplier of choice for more customers. As of mid-January 2019, Huawei has signed 30 contracts for 5G and shipped more than 25,000 5G base stations.
“Shanghai is committed to building a Dual-Gigaband city,” said Zhang of Shanghai’s Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology. “We are now planning field tests and pre-commercial trials of the technology. Ultimately, we will deploy 5G base stations across the whole city, and lead 5G commercial use in China.”
Railway stations with high-speed Internet access are just one of the many ways in which 5G will be applied. Although 5G means faster network speeds, the larger capacity provides a solid foundation for the Internet of Things (IoT). With 5G, a range of new services — such as Virtual Reality (VR), IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart City, and ultra-HD video — will see wider applications.
According to Industry experts, 5G will open a new era for mobile Internet, underpinned by digital transformation. Experts estimate “5G networks will connect 1 billion places, 5 billion people, and 50 billion objects, and bring digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.”
As the first 5G networks are rolled out, Huawei has several 5G DIS projects underway.
“The 5G DIS was built using Huawei chips, integrated designs, and high-performance antennas, and so on,” said Zhou. “It leads the industry in terms of performance, specifications, and technologies.
“The 5G DIS technology will deliver ubiquitous connectivity for AR, VR, and accurate positioning and navigation,” Zhou continued. “It will enable intelligent digital platforms for areas such as store management, distribution management, and targeted advertising.”
As 5G industrialization accelerates, Huawei is working with partners in many industries to develop the indoor 5G industry, and enable smart buildings, remote healthcare, and smart railways. The whole world is becoming more intelligent.
Within the 5G world, the functions of mobile Internet, big data, cloud computing, and smart devices are constantly integrating and transforming. 5G is more than a next-generation technology. It is a key infrastructure for the digital future. Just as 2G transformed voice services and 4G transformed mobile Internet, 5G is the engine that will transform the world.
“With Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Huawei, we have set up platforms to bring together the industry, academia, and research institutes,” said Zhang. “Through more investment in new infrastructure including AI, industrial Internet, and the IoT, we will revitalize this city and build a hi-tech, intelligent Shanghai.”
Guests at the launch event included: Zhang Jianming, Vice Chairman of Shanghai’s Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology; Wang Guannan, Deputy Division Chief of the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission; Bai Zhengguo, Station Master of the Shanghai Railway Station; Li Xuecheng, Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Shanghai; Peter Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Huawei’s Wireless Solution; Zang Binyu, Dean of the School of Software at Shanghai Jiao Tong University; and Xiao Yuhuo, General Manager of China Mobile Tietong Shanghai.