Editor’s note: This article is from the micro-channel public number “Fresh classroom” (ID: xzclasscom), Author: Jun jujube.36 氪 Published with permission.Nowadays
I want to talk to you about the 5G industry chain.Recently, the topic of “new infrastructure” has come to us like a tide.The Internet is full of various “in-depth reviews” articles, and various “big coffees” have spared no effort to shake their flags.They seem to be telling us that if this opportunity is missed, their lives should be poor.In fact, others in the seven major areas dare not say that only 5G, if they wait to drink now before investing, daylily is cold.The real investor has already acted a few years ago, but can it wait until now?Many 5G-related companies’ stocks have passed. I do n’t know how many waves there are. But after all, although there are many online analysis articles about the 5G industry chain, most of them are either too vertical (focusing only on a certain segment) or content fragmentation(Dongxixixi, did not explain the relationship clearly).There are also some that are relatively watery. They simply collected all the materials provided by the manufacturer, and put them together blindly, completely out of technical common sense.Today, I dare to write an article today, hoping to sort out the relationship of the 5G industry chain as a whole, and by the way, clarify the common misunderstandings of 5G by lay investors.Do not seek to help everyone invest to make money, but to reduce the chance of falling.It is stated in advance that I do not know the operating status of most companies in the communications industry. The names of companies involved in this article are not recommended as investment targets, and this article cannot be used as an investment reference.Thank you!Nonsense for a long time, we start today’s content.What is the industry chain?In my opinion, the industrial chain is both a product chain and a value chain.From raw materials to devices to products.From small products to large products, and finally to system products, solutions and supporting services, to provide users.The enterprises and institutions and individuals involved in this series of chains are all part of the industrial chain.The 5G industry chain finally delivers 5G network services enjoyed by users.From a hardware perspective, users want to use 5G network services without two things-5G network and 5G terminal.To put it bluntly, we need both organic and web.Let’s talk about the net first.5G networks are still essentially mobile communication networks.Those with qualifications for the construction and operation of mobile communication networks, we know that only mobile communication operators.In our China, there are four operators, namely China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Radio and Television.The communication network that operators build and operate nationwide is a public communication network, also known as the “public network.”In addition to public networks, related departments such as railways, electric power, public security, and terminals are also authorized to allow the establishment of communication networks.This type of network is dedicated, with a user range and a geographical range. The scale is small and the number of users is relatively small (relative to the public network).The size of the private network market is much smaller than that of the public network (but it is actually quite large). We continue to talk about the public network.The “franchise” model adopted by the public network has given operators an absolute central position in the communications industry.In other words, the operator is the largest gold owner and the largest party A.Almost all communications industry investments (5G investments) flow from operators.Most of these investments come from the phone bills we pay each month, and some come from national investments or capital markets.Operators provide network services for users, but the network equipment is not made by the operator itself. It will invite tenders from manufacturers.In addition to equipment hardware and software, they also purchase services.These services include design services, installation services, maintenance services, and more.All companies that can provide mobile communication related products or services want to become the second party of the operator.These parties include main equipment manufacturers, equipment manufacturers in subdivided fields, engineering contractors, human service providers, and so on.Party B also has its own Party B, Party B’s Party B and Party B, and they will be chained together to form a chain.The structure of the communications industry industry chain The 5G industry chain, or communications industry chain, is not a single chain, but a multi-chain.The communication network is a complex whole, which is composed of multiple parts.Each part has its own industry chain.From a macro perspective, the 5G network industry chain can be divided into three areas, one-to-one correspondence with the communication network architecture, namely the access network industry chain, the bearer network industry chain and the core network industry chain.Among these three industrial chains, the access network and the bearer network are the most noteworthy.Because for a public network such as 5G, a very large number and size of base stations and optical fiber communication networks need to be built.The base station belongs to the access network.This piece is undoubtedly the big head.Although optical fiber communication is used in access networks, bearer networks, and core networks, it is mainly used in bearer networks.The bearer network industry chain is also equivalent to the optical communication industry chain.Let’s first look at the industry chain of 5G base stations (access networks).When I introduced the 5G access network technology topic, I said that 4G base stations are mainly BBUs, RRUs, and passive antennas.5G base stations have become CU (Central Unit), DU (Distribution Unit) and AAU (Active Antenna).The components of 4G base stations The evolution of 4G base stations to 5G base stations Traditional antenna companies may be familiar to everyone, such as Shenglu, Tongyu, Mobi, and Jingxin.In the 5G era, Massive MIMO (Large-Scale Antenna Array) technology began to be applied. The antenna changed from passive to active, and the technical complexity was much higher.The relationship between the antenna and the main equipment of the base station is closer, and the signal is no longer simply radiated in a specified direction.This is not good for traditional antenna companies.The market share of antennas will be affected by the market share of base station main equipment (benefit to main equipment manufacturers).5G base station active antenna (AAU), there are a large number of oscillators, circuit boards (PCB), and the outside is a radome.The green one is the vibrator array inside the 5G antenna (the other side is the radome, that is, the shell). This is clearer (antenna array). The 5G antenna appearance RF device is an important part of the base station, including filters.Take the filter that you often hear.In the 3G / 4G era, base station filters are mainly metal coaxial cavities. In the 5G era, ceramic dielectric filters with high Q, low loss, and low temperature drift are expected to become the mainstream.Base station main equipment manufacturers are Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia, Datang, etc.They began to eat away at antenna markets that they didn’t care about before.Inside the 5G base station main equipment CU and DU, there are a large number of circuit boards and electronic components, as well as many chips.Their role is to do some protocol processing and operations.When talking about the chip of the base station master, say a few more words.People often say 5G chips, in fact, 5G chips are a general term.A chip is a semiconductor for computing, and there are chips where there is computing.There are chips in the base station main equipment, and also in the bearer network and core network equipment.Not to mention inside the mobile phone, everyone hears and sees advertisements every day.The 5G chips mentioned in the online articles mostly refer to the SoC chips in 5G mobile phones.It is just a small member of the huge chip family in the communications industry.The chips in 5G base station equipment are completely different from mobile phone chips or computer CPU chips. They have their own unique functions, designs and algorithms.These chips (especially important ones) are basically self-developed by ZTE and Huawei (ZTE Microelectronics and Huawei Hisilicon).In addition to the main equipment of the base station, there are a large number of supporting equipment, such as computer room power supply, batteries, air conditioning, security monitoring, and even integrated station buildings and iron towers. Each has its own subdivided industrial chain.No more digging.In addition to outdoor macro base stations, there are also micro base stations for indoor use.5G micro base stations Micro base stations are also divided into ordinary micro base stations and O-RAN micro base stations.In fact, there is not much technical content, the same is signal modulation and RF processing.O-RAN is an open source base station. Due to space limitations, I will not introduce more.O-RAN micro base station.
Look at the bearer network again.Just now, the bearer network industry chain is almost equivalent to the optical communication industry chain.In this day and age, fiber is without a doubt the best (and only) option for wired data transmission.For optical communication, it generally includes fiber optic cables, optical modules, and optical communication master equipment.The fiber optic cable is estimated to be very familiar to everyone, Changfei Optical Fiber, Zhongtian Technology, Hengtong Optoelectronics.Although the amount is large, the profit margin is extremely low.The optical module is more complicated. It is mainly composed of optical chips, optical components, and PCBs.The main value is concentrated in optical chips.Optical chips are basically localized in the low and medium end, but the profit margin is not high.The technology of high-end optical chips (100G and above) is now more in the hands of foreign manufacturers, and domestic manufacturers are stepping up.The optical modules that can be concerned are Zhongji Xuchuang, Guangxun Technology, Xinyisheng, Hisense Broadband, Yifeiyang, Mingpu Optomagnetic and so on.These companies have also made their own 400G optical modules.Optical modules are usually installed on the main device.The main optical communication equipment is the OTN, PTN and other equipment. To put it bluntly, it is the optical transmission equipment with an optical port. The companies that have done well in China are Huawei, ZTE, Fiberhome, H3C, etc.As mentioned earlier, all master devices have chips inside.The chips of optical communication main equipment also have high technical content. Both Huawei and ZTE have their own chips, which are very powerful.Optical communication main equipment It is worth mentioning that in addition to the 5G industrial chain, the optical communication industry chain is also an important component of the fixed-line broadband access industry chain and the data center industry chain.In other words, this industry chain serves both operators and Internet companies.Another big area of new infrastructure, big data centers, is also an important market for optical communications.Some time ago when I wrote the leaf ridge network topic, I also mentioned that data centers use a large number of leaf ridge network structures and have greater demand for optical modules and fiber optic cables.Look at the core network again.Oops, what this uncle said.Why don’t you say it?Peel it, haha!Core network as my old business, still have to say something.Among the three major fields of access network, bearer network and core network, the core network is the most boring.Because its quantity demand is too small, even if the unit price is high, its proportion in the entire network investment is the smallest.In many overseas projects, the core network is given away.In domestic projects, because there are many points and the volume is still a bit large, the bidding amount seems to be ok.Especially now that operators are working on the SA core network, the entire platform has to be replaced. This amount is relatively large.It should be noted that the 5G core network uses virtualization technology, and the general server has been fully adopted on the hardware. Therefore, the industrial chain on the hardware is basically the same as that of the general x86 server in the data center.Huawei’s core network virtualization platform is all on x86 blade server software. Many companies now have core network software (open source core network), but considering the reliability requirements of the telecommunications industry, operators should still mainly use Huawei,The core network solutions of companies such as ZTE do not dare to use small vendors directly.The core network of small manufacturers is mainly targeted at overseas small and medium operators, as well as the private network market.I almost forgot to say that in addition to computing equipment, the 5G core network also has a large number of data communication switching equipment, such as carrier-grade high-end routers. This is actually more related to the bearer network and overlaps with the data center.Alas, anyway, the core network is cloudized. The core network will be the data center and the cloud, and it will become more and more unnecessary to come out alone.After talking about the network, let’s talk about the terminal.For the consumer Internet, a terminal is basically a wearable device such as a mobile phone and a phone watch.The mobile phone industry chain is lively, and the research in the industry is relatively transparent. Everyone knows what cameras, screens, HiFi, etc.On the contrary, I didn’t know much and didn’t study it.5G mobile phone components, 5G SoC chip and 5G baseband chip are important.Those companies can do all over the world.In addition to chips, what is related to 5G is the RF module and antenna in the mobile phone, which has a certain technical content.In fact, in addition to the consumer Internet, the more important application area of 5G is the industrial Internet.In other words, the main service target of 5G networks is not mobile phone users, but industry users.As an important carrier for the interconnection of all things, 5G will provide services in industries including industry, agriculture, logistics, and transportation.In different application scenarios, there are different 5G terminals.For example, connected cars, 5G cars are 5G terminals in a sense.If a car wants to use a 5G network, a 5G module must be installed.The core of 5G modules is still 5G chips.The same is true for 5G drones. Drones with 5G modules and chips are also 5G terminals.Therefore, module manufacturers are also an important part of the 5G industry chain.The representatives of the module manufacturers are Gaoxinxing, Guanghetong, Yiyuan, Rihai, Meige and so on.5G millimeter wave module of Quectel Communication In addition to the module, the management platform, system integration and application services based on the Internet of Things are also huge markets.In fact, if we call 5G networks and 5G terminals as direct industry chains.Based on 5G application development, we may be called the 5G indirect industry chain?Well, let me just call it that.As a communication technology, 5G plays a role of connection.It is a kind of pipeline, and pipeline is a heavy asset investment, and the return rate is very low.The so many 5G industry chains mentioned earlier are actually to make money for operators to invest in building networks.Although the amount is large, the profit margin is extremely low.Moreover, operators are getting worse and worse. As the operator’s Party B, of course, life is getting worse.I believe everyone can see the low-price competition and ultra-low discounts in the communications industry these years.Therefore, investing money in network construction is actually very cost-effective.The correct approach should be to use the 5G network built by the operator, to do industry solutions, to do the IoT ecosystem, to sell products and services to end users, so as to make more money.For example, invest in connected cars to provide driverless services for car owners; invest in 5G medical treatment to provide patients with 5G wearable health bracelets and health monitoring services; for example, invest in 5G education to provide students with 5G remote VR video course content.These new applications based on 5G network enablement have more broad investment prospects.Just like when there were 3G4G and smart phones, the development of APPs, mobile phone ordering, mobile group purchases, mobile payment, and mobile navigation, a big ticket company became a unicorn, an industry giant.These are obviously more promising, aren’t they?Okay, all I want to say about the 5G industry chain, I hope it will be helpful to everyone.Again, this article is not intended as an investment reference!Don’t even look for me if you have gained or lost, thank you!