Nearlink could be a game-changer especially since it has already got the backing of more than 300 large tech firms mostly from China.
Interestingly, the first products that have Nearlink are hitting the market, with Huawei leading the way. By description, Nearlink is a revolutionary next-generation wireless protocol that aims to rival Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The first devices that are shipping with the Nearlink standard include Huawei Mate 60, Freebuds Pro, and MatePad Pro 13.2. Notably, Huawei is championing the new technology as much faster and highly effective than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Introduced at its HDC 2023 event in August, Nearlink operates by making the most of the current wireless technologies, which include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as highlighted by Huawei Central.
The benefits of the new technology include 60% less power consumption, six times data transmission speeds, and support of nearly ten times the device connections. This standard is designed to eliminate latency while providing high bandwidth to boot. Nearlink is said to offer latency of 1/30th of a millisecond.
Huawei is loading its latest Devices with Nearlink and leading a consortium of 300 tech firms to create this standard. All of these firms are Chinese except St Gobain and Mediatek and they are meant to incorporate the new standard into their products.
This massive group features a wide range of firms from industries like AV, automotive, electronics, and home appliances. The other notable names include Honor, Lenovo, and Hisense, among many others.
There are no major US names including the likes of AMD, Intel, Nvidia, or Qualcomm are included. That leads to a very real likelihood that the new technology might take off in China and leave the rest of the world far behind.
Nonetheless, there are some alternatives available in the rest of the world, including the ultra-wideband (UWB) technology Apple is creating for its devices, including the new iPhone 15 series. Although the United States has blacklisted Huawei, it is still a major player in the global technology industry.
A China-only wireless protocol built and created only by Chinese firms – spearheaded by Huawei – might result in a parallel form of networking that is impossible to review – mostly when it comes to shaping how the standard improves over time, and what it means for the users and businesses.
China Aims To Move Forward Without Any Foreign Tech
Huawei is striving to become China’s rival to Apple in smartphones and the world’s leading provider of telecom networks. It is out to prove that it is not only surviving Washington’s campaign to crush it but is at the center of Beijing’s push for self-reliance in technology.
After the buzz around Huawei’s new high-speed smartphones, which proved that China can survive despite the U.S. blocking its access to advanced technology, the firm introduced its latest smartwatches, tablets, and earphones on September 25, 2023. These devices are supported by homegrown challengers to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the global standards in wireless communication.
Initially called ‘Greentooth,’ a moniker ditched as too unserious, it rebranded to ‘NearLink,’ a short-range wireless technology that the firm says integrates the best features of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – and is compatible with both.
This protocol provides low-power, lightweight connectivity similar to Bluetooth, concurrently catering to top-speed, large transmission, and top-quality connectivity needs that resemble Wi-Fi. NearLink alternates between modes according to the situation at hand, according to Huawei.
Battling increased pressure from US restrictions, China has increased its efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in important technologies. Chinese Premier Li Qiang collaborated with private companies including Huawei in August, encouraging them to pursue international excellence and gain a competitive edge in the market via product and technological enhancements.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are wireless communication technologies that support the transmission of documents, photos, and other data between compatible devices. Creating wireless communications tech needs expertise in many sectors, including signal processing, wireless communication protocols, and software development.
Apple spent several years and billions of dollars trying to develop the technology, so far without any success, to make a wireless chip. Notably, the latest iPhone still depends on Qualcomm for this component.
Huawei has tens of thousands of patents that cover critical technologies for data transmission in phones. To access these high-speed networks, handset manufacturers have to acquire licenses from or cross-license with firms like Huawei and Qualcomm.
Between June 2021 and May 2023, Huawei trailed just Qualcomm in the number of wireless communication network technology patents published, having nearly 9,000 more than third-placed Ericsson, based on a recent IPR Daily ranking. IPR Daily is a Chinese media outlet that focuses on intellectual property.
Ericsson invented Bluetooth, currently controlled by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group—or Bluetooth SIG—the reputable standards organization that licenses this technology to manufacturers.
In the case of Huawei, the company had access to many major global technology links restricted after U.S. sanctions. Without that access, the firm’s devices may face limitations in using critical features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Despite being reinstated, the company decided to create its in-house technology. Huawei insists that NearLink utilizes less than 50% of the power used by Bluetooth, is six times faster, and supports 10 times the number of devices in one network.