What is the most far-reaching impact of the pandemic on enterprises? The first thing that may come to mind is the way we now work.
Indeed, work from home, remote work, and hybrid work have become the latest buzzwords over the past three years. The pandemic accelerates enterprise digitalization and disrupts the way of work. It is for this reason that hybrid work becomes the new norm, giving employees freedom in how they work.
Alongside this, enterprises are struggling with many new challenges in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) transformation and digital construction.
• The wide adoption of remote work leads to an explosion in audio and video conferences, the quality of which is crucial to productivity. According to OVUM, the volume of video traffic increases by 30% year on year, approximately 80% of traffic in an enterprise campus comes from video, and Wi-Fi traffic accounts for more than 30% of all traffic.
• Traditional office work is confined to wired networks. In contrast, today's enterprises expect wireless to be ubiquitous. As such, it is no wonder that so many enterprises have made "wireless first" central to their network construction strategy. That said, statistics show that 62% of enterprise users are not satisfied with their current wireless networks.
• With the rapid rise of hybrid work, the lines between offices and homes are blurring. Creating intelligent office environments has become a focus of enterprise digitalization.
Huawei remains dedicated to helping enterprises build intelligent, fully-wireless cloud campus networks. This has culminated in Huawei being named a leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure.
When it comes to enterprise network construction, Huawei is a strong advocate of the "wireless first" strategy, providing users with fully-wireless networks with ultimate experience. At HUAWEI CONNECT 2022, Huawei took the lead in releasing the experience-centric "X00 Mbps @ Anywhere" wireless network construction standard, a first of its kind in the industry. This new standard sets a benchmark for simplifying network planning, acceptance, and optimization — which are typically challenging for wireless networks due to lack of quantifiable construction standards — making it ideal for creating "200 Mbps @ Anywhere" fully-wireless office network experiences.
The best practices of "200 Mbps @ Anywhere" are impossible without Huawei's deep insights into customer scenarios and R&D prowess, including game-changing hardware innovations and best-in-class algorithm capabilities.
Wi-Fi carries data over radio waves. This means that the antenna quality directly determines the signal strength of stations (STAs) within the AP coverage area, affecting users' Wi-Fi experience.
Huawei has a pool of top experts in the antenna field, who have made continuous contributions to the development of 3G, 4G, and 5G antennas. By leveraging these antenna technologies into the WLAN field, Huawei has launched three generations of Wi-Fi smart antennas: dual-band dual-polarized smart antennas (first generation), low-profile dual-band dual-polarized smart antennas (second generation), and dynamic-zoom smart antennas (third generation). The following just describes the second-generation and third-generation smart antennas widely used in Huawei AirEngine series APs.
Second-generation smart antennas: Unique to Huawei, the dual-band dual-polarized co-planar antenna technology makes highly integrated antenna arrays a reality. For example, one AirEngine 8760-X1-PRO has four 2.4 GHz antennas and twelve 5 GHz antennas, with each antenna having four elements (in two states: ON and OFF) for beam switching. This equates to 216 beam combinations on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and 248 beam combinations on the 5 GHz frequency band. More combinations indicate more fine-tuned signal adjustment directions. These antenna designs, combined with smart antenna algorithms, achieve always-on signals for users and offer 20% improvements over traditional antennas in both bandwidth and coverage distance. Currently, Huawei's second-generation smart antennas are widely used in its AirEngine series indoor APs.
Smart antenna array
Third-generation smart antennas: Huawei innovates by integrating omnidirectional and high-density antenna arrays into one antenna and leveraging cutting-edge algorithms. In this way, an AP can automatically switch between omnidirectional and high-density coverage modes based on the available bandwidth and number of connected STAs in different application scenarios. Specifically, when the number of STAs and bandwidth are small, an AP works in the omnidirectional coverage mode to ensure wide signal coverage. And when the number of STAs and bandwidth are large, the AP changes to the high-density coverage mode to deliver sufficient bandwidth. In this mode, the anti-interference capability reaches 5 dB and the bandwidth increases by 20%.
Beam comparison between omnidirectional and high-density coverage modes
Hardware determines the upper limit of products, whereas software determines their lower limit. In the WLAN field, Huawei is one of the largest contributors to Wi-Fi standards, which has also enabled Huawei's software innovations. According to IPlytics, Huawei has submitted the most contributions to Wi-Fi standards across the last four generations: Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 7. Dr. Osama Aboul-Magd, a leading expert at Huawei, serves as the Chair of the Wi-Fi 6 standards working group, and another Huawei leading expert Dr. Edward Au is the technical editor of the Wi-Fi 7 standards working group. With its strong R&D capabilities, Huawei continues to lead the formulation and evolution of global Wi-Fi standards.
Innovations for higher bandwidth: Innovative features such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Multi-user Multiple-input Multiple-output (MU-MIMO) joint scheduling, intelligent multimedia scheduling, and Coordinated Spatial Reuse (CoSR) greatly improve the bandwidth of the entire network.
OFDMA and MU-MIMO joint scheduling: In multi-AP scenarios, OFDMA and MU-MIMO are two distinct scheduling modes for two types of services. Specifically, OFDMA generally applies to small-packet services, such as gaming and voice services, as it can significantly reduce the scheduling delay. MU-MIMO, on the other hand, is usually adopted for large-packet services, such as AR and VR services, as it can deliver large bandwidth. However, on a real-world network, multiple users on an AP are always running different services. In this case, using just a single scheduling mode leads to drawbacks: OFDMA alone cannot fully utilize spatial streams and solely using MU-MIMO wastes Resource Unit (RU) resources. Huawei innovatively combines the two scheduling modes to fully utilize spatial streams and maximize RU resource utilization, increasing the bandwidth of the entire network by 25%.
OFDMA and MU-MIMO joint scheduling
Intelligent multimedia scheduling: Huawei innovatively develops intelligent multimedia scheduling technology to ensure no rate limiting and unleash 100% of AP performance on the entire network. How does this technology work? It uses application identification to distinguish high-priority voice and video services from low-priority greedy services, and then monitors the delays of voice and video services in real time. When any degradation to voice or video services is detected, the congestion control algorithm is triggered to suppress the greedy services from consuming traffic. In this way, users can enjoy high-speed networks and uncompromised voice and video services.
Intelligent multimedia scheduling
CoSR: In high-density environments, APs are densely deployed, resulting in co-channel interference between APs. Traditional Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) only enables APs to back off to avoid channel conflicts. Huawei's CoSR algorithm changes the game by enabling sharing and shared APs to collaborate with each other. To elaborate, the sharing AP accurately controls the transmit power of shared APs, thereby eliminating interference from shared APs to the sharing AP. In this way, STAs on co-channel APs can send and receive data at the same time, increasing the bandwidth of the entire network by a whopping 20%. Such a multi-AP CoSR concept actually comes from the Wi-Fi 7 standard. Huawei has implemented this future-proof function in Wi-Fi 6 in advance.
AI roaming: With self-learning capabilities and a built-in STA profile library, Huawei's AI roaming technology customizes the optimal roaming time for each STA. Doing so improves the STA roaming efficiency, facilitates smooth roaming, and improves the in-roaming STA bandwidth by 40%.
Lossless roaming: By implementing fast neighbor scanning and lossless neighbor scanning, Huawei's lossless roaming technology quickly determines the target AP for roaming. This technology also introduces a packet buffering mechanism during AP handover. After roaming is complete, the buffered packets are sent again to achieve lossless roaming. The end result is 10 ms or less roaming handover and zero packet loss.
Dual fed and selective receiving: Air interface links are innovatively established using dual radios, and Frame Replication and Elimination for Reliability (FRER) is adopted for packet replication and deduplication. Specifically, two copies of the same packet are sent on two radio links at the same time, and the packets are subsequently deduplicated at the receive end. This provides redundancy protection for air interface links, with the reliability reaching 99.999% and the latency reduced to no more than 10 ms.
Dual fed and selective receiving
Air interface slicing: Wi-Fi uses the air interface contention mechanism to transmit data, which cannot ensure latency-sensitive or periodic scheduling services. Huawei's innovative air interface slicing technology overcomes this by dividing the time domain into fixed time slices, reserving air interface resources, and allocating the fixed time slices to services to be guaranteed. This ensures deterministic experience and achieves ultra-high 99.999% reliability and ultra-low latency of no more than 10 ms.
Air interface slicing
Huawei never ceases its research into cutting-edge Wi-Fi protocols and standards as well as continued innovations to software and hardware. Built on Huawei's years of experience, AirEngine series WLAN products and solutions win high recognition from customers of all sizes around the globe.
To date, Huawei's intelligent, fully-wireless cloud campus network offerings have served millions of customers in more than 170 countries and regions, across diverse industries such as public service, education, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, and energy, helping them build fully-wireless networks with ultimate experience.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, products, and technologies of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. If you need to learn more about the products and technologies of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., please visit our website at e.huawei.com or contact us.