Huawei demonstrates its 5G Balong 5000 multi-mode chipset

Balong 5000
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The Huawei 5G Balong 5000 multi-mode chipset and the first commercial 5G device powered by it, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro router, will provide access to the world’s fastest wireless broadband.

Over the coming months, GadgetGuy readers are going to hear a lot about 5G. Including claims of the world’s first or fastest and that 5G can do everything including making tea (?).

Until we all figure out what these claims mean in real-world use forgive us for allowing hyperbole in what portends the latest technology, albeit that we really don’t see it making much of a difference to Joe and Jane Average for a few years yet.

The Huawei Balong 5000 is a 5G modem chip

It is capable of sending and receiving data and voice (all voice on 4G and 5G is data, not analogue) over legacy 2, 3 and 4G networks and now 5G networks. You will see modems from Qualcomm (X50), Intel (XMM 8160) and others powering 5G phones, laptops and routers. Eventually the System-on-a-Chip (SoC) will have the modem integrated into it, but for now, it’s a separate chip.

Balong 5000

Huawei claims

  • The multi-mode chipset supports a broad range of 5G products in addition to smartphones, including home broadband devices, vehicle-mounted devices, and 5G modules.
  • It reduces latency and power consumption when exchanging data between different modes and will significantly enhance user experience in the early stages of commercial 5G deployment.
  • It is the first chipset to perform to industry benchmarks for peak 5G download speeds.
  • It is also the world’s first chipset that supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) network architectures for 5G.
  • It is the world’s first multi-mode chipset that supports Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communications, providing low-latency and highly reliable solutions for connected vehicles.

Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, said

“The Balong 5000 will open up a whole new world to consumers. It will provide the high-speed connections needed for pervasive intelligence. Powered by the Balong 5000, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro enables consumers to access networks more freely and enjoy an incredibly fast connected experience. Huawei has an integrated set of capabilities across chips, devices, cloud services, and networks. Building on these strengths, as the leader of the 5G era, we will bring an inspired, intelligent experience to global consumers in every aspect of their lives.”

Huawei 5G CPE Pro router

All we know is that is uses the Balong 5000 modem and has Wi-Fi AX (Wi-Fi 6) for up to 4.8Gbps Wi-Fi 6.

Balong 5000

5G speeds depend on the network frequency and infrastructure

There are two 5G spectrum.

At Sub-6 GHz (low-frequency bands, the main spectrum used for 5G) it can achieve download speeds up to 4.6 Gbps.

On mmWave spectrum (high-frequency bands used as extended-spectrum for 5G) it can achieve download speeds up to 6.5 Gbps – 10 times faster than top 4G LTE speeds on the market today.

It also supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) network architectures for 5G. With non-standalone, 5G network architecture is built on top of legacy 4G LTE networks, whereas standalone 5G will have its own independent architecture.

GadgetGuy’s take: Let’s not get excited, yet

4G started in Australia in July 2014. It took years to take hold, and you could argue it really only matured in 2018.

5G take-up may be even slower because 4G is fine for 99.9% of Joe and Jane Averages. Initially, it will be a tack-on to 4G towers (NSA), and that does not reach the claimed 5G sky-high speeds. In the coming years, it will get its own infrastructure as a precursor for 6, 7, 8G.

Then there is the data cost. Early adopters will pay through the nose for hardware, but thankfully we do not expect data to cost more than the expensive 4G plans – about $10 per GB.

But here is the kicker. 5G makes much more use of AI clouds and storage to do its tricks. Apart from being able to stream up to 8K content (a few GB a second), it will send you broke at up to ten times faster than data over 4G.

Telco’s and app developers will find ways of making you use more data – after all someone has to pay for this!

GiffGaff research says that by 2025, 5G users will be using 100GB of data per month. At the moment the average use is about 3GB per month. While video content (entertainment) should account for much of that increase GiffGaff stays no – its all about social media and content from it.

Header image courtesy Deloitte. If you want to read more about 5G read a great overview here.