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Portugal Blocks Chinese Tech Giant Huawei from 5G Network

In a bold move, Portugal has decided to close its doors to companies from “high-risk” countries and jurisdictions regarding its fifth-generation (5G) phone network. Following in the footsteps of other Western nations, Portugal has effectively blocked Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. from its market, raising eyebrows and sparking conversations about the implications for national security.

The Portuguese government recently released a statement outlining its decision to prohibit the use of equipment from suppliers based outside the European Union, as well as those from non-member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This measure aims to safeguard national networks from potential security risks associated with equipment supplied by companies from these “high-risk” regions.

In their statement, the security assessment committee of the government’s Higher Council for Cyberspace Security highlighted that companies from outside these specific jurisdictions pose a significant risk to the security of national networks. This decision effectively excludes Chinese suppliers, including Huawei, which had previously collaborated with some Portuguese telecommunications firms to develop their 5G networks.

One such collaboration was between Altice Portugal and Huawei, announced in 2019, as they worked together to develop cutting-edge 5G technology. However, earlier this year, Altice Portugal made a significant shift, selecting Nokia Oyj as the equipment provider for its core 5G network. At the time of this reporting, Altice was not available for immediate comment on the recent ban.

More details on the decision

The government’s statement did not explicitly name any specific suppliers now banned from participation. Additionally, no timeline was provided for telecommunication companies in Portugal to remove equipment supplied by these now-banned suppliers from their networks. The Portuguese business newspaper Jornal Economico first reported the decision, stirring discussions and speculation within the industry.

This move by Portugal echoes the concerns expressed by several other Western countries regarding the potential risks associated with allowing companies from certain nations to participate in building critical infrastructure like 5G networks. These concerns primarily revolve around the possibility of foreign governments accessing or influencing sensitive data and communications raising national security issues.

While the decision might raise eyebrows and elicit mixed reactions, it underscores Portugal’s commitment to ensuring the integrity and security of its telecommunication infrastructure. By effectively blocking Chinese companies, Portugal joins a growing list of countries that have taken similar steps to mitigate potential risks associated with foreign suppliers.

The ban, however, marks a significant development in the ongoing global debate over the involvement of Chinese tech companies in 5G network infrastructure. As countries navigate the complex landscape of emerging technologies and national security, it is clear that the issue of trust and risk assessment will continue to shape the future of telecommunications.

As the world races toward the 5G revolution, the implications of such decisions are far-reaching. While Portugal takes a definitive stance, the debate surrounding the balance between innovation, national security, and international cooperation intensifies. Time will tell how this move will impact the telecommunications landscape in Portugal and beyond.

Chinese Experts Make Major Discovery in 6G Communication

6G, short for the sixth generation cellular network, is the next frontier of telecommunications which promises more reliable and faster communication than any of the existing technologies. 5G networks, which different parts of the globe are rolling out, offer low transmission latency delays. Experts predict that 6G networks will further lower latency delays and enable efficient use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Researchers at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Second Institute have achieved a breakthrough in next-generation 6G communication by conducting the first real-time wireless transmission, the South China Morning Post reported.

What makes China’s achievement special?

Experts expect 6G cellular networks to enable high-definition virtual reality (VR), holographic communication, and other data-intensive applications. The researchers used a special antenna to generate four different beam patterns at 110 GHz frequency. Doing so enabled them to transmit data at 100 gigabits per second on a 10 GHz bandwidth, a significant upgrade from current levels.

The technology used for this real-time data transmission has been dubbed as terahertz orbital angular momentum communication, the SCMP said in its report.

Chinese researchers make a major breakthrough in 6G communication
6G will be a crucial tool of communication in the futureTony Studio/iStock 

Terahertz refers to communication in the frequency range of 100 GHz and 10 THz of the electromagnetic spectrum. The higher frequency range of this technology enables faster data transfer rates and more information to be transmitted. Terahertz communication has also attracted interest for use in military environments since it offers high-speed and secure communication.

The other significant part of their achievement is the orbital angular momentum (OAM) used in the transmission. This encoding technology allows more information to be transmitted at once. The researchers used OAM to transmit multiple signals on the same frequency demonstrating a more efficient use of the spectrum.

While it may take a few years for these technologies to become commonplace, the researchers also demonstrated advancements in wireless backhaul technology that can be deployed soon.

Conventional cellular networks transmit data from devices to base stations and then to core networks through fiber optic cables. However, with an expected increase in base stations, fiber-based transmission is anticipated to become more expensive and time-consuming. The researchers aim to provide flexibility at lower costs by using wireless technology for backhaul, which can also be used for existing 5G communication.

In the future, 6G communication technology will also be critical for short-range broadband transmissions such as lunar and Mars landers and spacecraft. The U.S. government has taken cognizance of advances made by the Chinese communication industry and looking for ways to advance the technology at home and reassert U.S. dominance in the area, the Wall Street Journal reported.