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Huawei deployed the world’s first commercial RuralStar Pro to provide voice and data services

In southern China, there is a mountainous Maopo village in Kaiyang County, Guizhou Province. This village is situated above 1000m above sea level and often surrounded by thick fog.

The villagers face difficulties in communication because of weak or no signal coverage and had to walk up the mountain to make calls. The lack of communication is one of the reasons behind the poverty of the village.

By the end of December 2020, Huawei and China Unicom jointly deployed the world’s first commercial RuralStar Pro site in Maopo village to provide voice and data services for villagers. This helps in digitalization in rural areas and brings villagers out of poverty.

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 it difficult to use the microwave for transmission and it is costly to lay optical fiber in the mountainous village.

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 and said:

“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.”

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