Huawei and China Unicom have deployed the world’s first commercial RuralStar Pro site in a village in Southern China to provide voice and data services for local residents.
This promotes digitalization in rural areas and helps lift the residents out of poverty.
… RuralStar in Nigeria
In 2017, Huawei launched a solution called RuralStar, which aimed to bring ultra-long-distance voice and digital access services to rural areas at affordable prices.
TechEconomy.ng had reported how Huawei in partnership with the largest telecommunication network in Nigeria – MTN Nigeria, deployed RuralStar solutions to rural areas in the country.
In Nigeria, 51% of the population lives in rural villages scattered across vast grasslands or forests, and many villagers lack basic communications infrastructure and live in an “information silo”.
In less than a year, TechEconomy.ng learned that the solution quickly enabled internet access for 20 million previously unconnected people.
On December 29, 2020, MTN Nigeria also reported it plans to install more than 1,000 new sites each year in the next few years to 3,000 locations.
… Back to Maopo village
The solution was deployed in a mountainous Maopo village in Kaiyang County, Guizhou Province. The village resides 1,000 meters above sea level and is often surrounded by thick fog.
Prior to the solution, the villagers had weak or no signal coverage and had to walk up the mountains to make a call. This difficulty in communication was one of the reasons this village struggled to develop economically.
Maopo village is one of the key targets for precise poverty alleviation in Guizhou, of which rural digitization is high prioritized. Despite finalizing site planning, China Unicom had to delay the network construction multiple times.
This is because the foggy environment made using microwave for transmission difficult and it is costly to lay optical fiber in the mountainous village. Huawei’s new RuralStar Pro solution enables the operator to overcome these challenges.
RuralStar Pro revolutionizes the traditional base station mode with its all-in-one design that integrates baseband, radio frequency (RF), and wireless LTE backhaul all in one tiny box. This design supports LTE wireless self-backhaul, innovatively compensating for the weaknesses of microwave and optical fiber transmission. Integrating main equipment, this design also helps reduce the site’s power consumption to only a little over 100 W, which is far lower than that of the traditional site. This site can be installed on a 6 m pole, significantly reducing civil work costs and simplifying delivery. As a result, site investment is greatly reduced.
The access-backhaul integrated design was first implemented by Huawei in wireless networks. This deployment, in particular, is a major milestone in expanding access to rural communities and marks the first commercial use of such a design in the communications industry.
With the access-backhaul integrated base station deployed in Maopo village, the installation and commissioning took only 2 hours, 80% shorter than a traditional site. After the site was deployed, the coverage proportion in the village soared from 5% to 85%, and clear VoLTE voice services and a download speed of 20 Mbps are now accessible to the residents.
One of China Unicom’s engineers who was involved in the site deployment was impressed by how fast the site was deployed, saying that this was the fastest site he had deployed in 10 years. China Unicom Guizhou highly praised the deployment, saying: “Broadband is playing an increasingly important role in the alleviation of poverty in rural areas, particularly for the villages where network deployment is challenging. In the future, we will continue to work with Huawei to develop simple and cost-effective network solutions for villages in mountainous areas to bring mobile broadband and its benefits to more people.”
Innovation will never cease. Since its maiden launch three years ago, Huawei’s RuralStar series has been continuously improving. Huawei will continue to innovate products and solutions to bring digital to every person, home, and organization.