[Suzhou, China, March 30, 2021] China Mobile Suzhou and Huawei reached a new milestone with the verification of the 5G indoor positioning capability in metro transport scenarios in Suzhou — a major city located along the southeastern edge of Jiangsu Province in eastern China. The verification showed that, even with pRRUs being hidden, a positioning precision of 3 to 5 m can be achieved in 90% of the platform and hall areas. This is the first time that 5G indoor positioning has been verified on live networks in the world, providing valuable experience for the commercial growth of 5G positioning in vertical industries.
Indoor location-based services are in high demand of vertical applications, such as indoor navigation, asset tracking, geofencing, logistics management, and personnel management, which reflects the huge market space of indoor positioning. Currently, indoor positioning technologies are of great variety and most of them need to be deployed and maintained individually, resulting in high end-to-end costs. As a part of the continuous evolution of 5G, positioning has been added to 3GPP Release 16 finalized in mid 2020 to realize indoor positioning by leveraging the ultra-high signal resolution empowered by 5G's high bandwidth, multi-point measurements, and multi-access edge computing (MEC) deployment.
The verification was based on Huawei's 5G digital indoor solution LampSite and leading MEC solution. The LampSite units measure the radio signals of 5G devices and work with MEC to analyze the signal characteristics. Based on the results of the analysis, leading algorithms are used to precisely locate 5G devices.
Unlike incumbent indoor positioning technologies, 5G indoor positioning enables telecom carriers to provide positioning services over the same networks they have deployed to provide mobile 5G services. In addition, this new approach facilitates positioning capability openness to upper-layer applications through MEC, putting telecom carriers a unique position to develop the 5G industrial ecosystem. By reusing an existing system to provide positioning services, 5G positioning will help industrial users significantly reduce investment costs.
As 5G is quickly expanding to various industries, 5G indoor positioning will enable telecom carriers to provide diversified high-value services to transport hubs, industrial manufacturing, healthcare services, and other applications that hugely depend on accurate location information, which will be crucial for growing the 5GtoB market space.