ZTE and China Mobile claim wireless network digital twin first

Chinese kit vendor ZTE has developed a dedicated digital twin platform, which it claims has reached over 90% twinning precision in certain environments.

The platform was tested in partnership with China Mobile in Jiujiang, China, in an exercise described by ZTE as “the industry’s first wireless network digital twin application for XR (Extended Reality) service”. XR in this case seems to mean VR, judging from the above photo. The purpose of it was to demonstrate the ability to create the digital twin of a wireless network and compare how closely it resembles the real thing when interacting with it.

Digital twin technology is being touted as a major use-case for 5G, which is especially noteworthy at a time when such things are hard to find. The basic point is that if you can make a perfect digital facsimile of a real-world thing, then you can perform trials with the twin without fear of breaking anything. Of course, that only works if the digital twin is perfect, otherwise there can be no confidence in the real-world legitimacy of any outcomes derived from interacting with it.

This trial concerned the management of a wireless network. The 90% accuracy claim concerns comparisons between the digital twin wireless network and the real one in relatively simple environments such as parks and squares. “In the recent XR application in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, testing engineers conducted XR tests in more than 70 locations under the coverage of 130 5G base stations in the physical network,” says the ZTE press release.

“At the same time, ZTE’s high-fidelity wireless network digital twin platform performed network and application performance twinning of the same XR service. By comparing the differences of the key performance indicators, the twinning precision can be calculated.”

Digital twins accessed through VR/AR/XR peripherals represent one of the more plausible use-cases for the over-hyped metaverse, certainly more so than consumer-focused ones such as gaming and socializing. This announcement adds weight to the suspicion that China is leading the way when it comes to 5G research, so it will be interesting to see if any equivalent breakthroughs are announced elsewhere. Here’s a vid describing the trial in greater detail.


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