Huawei ushers in age of 4.5G with new smartband and drone

Huawei are focusing their efforts on the launch of a 4.5G network, offering faster speeds and more capacity than currently available.

At a pre-Mobile World Congress event hosted earlier this week, the Chinese firm highlighted the potential benefits of faster mobile Internet.

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Huawei claims that its 4.5G network will shorten latency from 50ms to 10ms, support more than 100,000 connections and provide speeds of 1Gbps. Bob Cai, the firm’s vice president of marketing, said that the current 4G offering was insufficient for modern digital needs.

"300Mbps is not enough," he said, referring to the best mobile Internet speeds being provided in the UK by EE.

"4.5G is a natural evolution of LTE, and supports new business opportunities and an improved user experience through enhancement of the mobile network‘s capacity and capability,” he added. “This in turn will transition our industry into an all online world with ultra high speed massive connections and low latency, allowing all of us to be fully prepared for the large-scale arrival of applications for cellular IoT."

The 4.5G network should be commercialised by 2016 and Huawei believes the greater capacity that it offers could usher in a number of technological innovations. As part of the network launch, Huawei also unveiled the 4.5G Smartband – the world’s first LTE-M wearable device.

Although other details surrounding the smartband are thin on the ground, Huawei did confirm that it would utilise a chip made by Neul, a startup acquired by the Chinese company last year.

Huawei claims that the desire for virtual reality applications and ultra-HD video cannot be met by existing 4G infrastructure. With 5G networks not expected to roll out until 2020, 4.5G capabilities could prove hugely enabling.

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At the launch event, Huawei also showed off a drone that had been designed to work with its 4.5G network. Drone technology requires a latency of 20ms for effective control, meaning Huawei's network could open up the the industry to mobile applications.