NearLink Technology Expands to Multiple Product Categories Including Car Keys and Adds Support for Connecting Devices from Different Brands

Huawei introduced the short-range wireless connectivity technology “NearLink” in August last year. This technology combines the advantages of traditional wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi into one standard, suitable for various scenarios including consumer electronics, smart homes, new energy vehicles, and industrial smart manufacturing. Nearly a year since its launch, various manufacturers have released a range of products supporting NearLink technology, including smartphones, tablets, styluses, mice, keyboards, and game controllers.

Currently, most devices using NearLink technology do not support connections between devices from different brands. However, at the Huawei HDC 2024 Developer Conference this year, Huawei announced that the issue of connecting different NearLink devices is beginning to be resolved. For example, Beitong has officially announced successful joint debugging with Huawei’s NearLink products, becoming the first controller brand capable of direct connection with NearLink products.

According to Xu Haowei, Chief Scientist of Short-Range Communications at Huawei’s Terminal BG, since the launch of NearLink, the number of products has increased sevenfold, the number of chips has tripled, and the number of chip manufacturers has increased to six. NearLink technology will focus on the following four intelligent scenarios:

  • Personal Intelligence: NearLink Audio & Find (higher sound quality, broader applications)
  • Office Intelligence: NearLink Office (lower latency)
  • Travel Intelligence: NearLink Car Key (more precise positioning)
  • Whole-House Intelligence: NearLink Network Manager (lower power consumption)

Personal Intelligence

It is reported that the lossless audio transmission quality of TWS earphones currently stands at 990 kbps, while CD-level lossless audio requires a transmission rate of 1.4 Mbps. Huawei’s FreedBus Pro 3, which uses the NearLink core technology Polar code L2HC 3.0 coding technology, supports 1.5 Mbps transmission, with plans to release headphones with 2.3 Mbps lossless transmission in the future.

NearLink technology will also provide a personal device finding function, supporting floor-level positioning. Huawei will also open this feature to third-party devices, maintaining consistent finding capabilities. The NearLink finding function has the following characteristics:

  • Floor-level positioning: long-distance + floor-level positioning
  • Long-range measurement: medium to long distances + precise measurement
  • Directional: medium distance + orientation awareness
  • Perceptible: close distance + audible perception

NearLink finding supports anonymous upload of device locations by 300 million devices. Xu Haowei stated that the goal of NearLink finding is “everything can be found”. When a user’s device is lost, it will send a NearLink broadcast, and other users with HarmonyOS devices will provide encrypted location data upon receiving it.

Office Intelligence

It is reported that Huawei’s NearLink stylus has a packet sending frequency increased by 7.5 times, pairing speed increased by 4 times, and the first pen stroke speed increased by 3 times. Xu Haowei said that Huawei will open access to third-party stylus manufacturers, providing the same writing capabilities as Huawei’s stylus.

NearLink mice use a fast-refresh solution, with sensitivity that can be adjusted, supporting a wireless refresh rate of up to 8 KHz, and featuring low latency.

For keyboards and game controllers products support direct connection to devices, supporting “no Dongle, high return rate experience”. Among them, NearLink keyboards support a 250 Hz return rate, and controllers can achieve a 500 Hz return rate when directly connected to devices.

Travel Intelligence

Devices equipped with NearLink technology support carrier phase measurement to calculate distances, providing more precise distance measurement than Bluetooth and longer range than UWB. In addition, Huawei’s smart selection brand cars will gradually upgrade from Bluetooth car keys to NearLink car keys in the future, with the user experience being indistinguishable from UWB car keys.

In March this year, the Smart Car Networking Industry Ecosystem Alliance and the International NearLink Alliance released the “Smart Car Networking Industry Ecosystem Alliance Digital Car Key System Part 6: NearLink System Requirements”, with Huawei, BYD, Changan, GAC, FAW, and others participating in drafting. This standard proposes:

  • Precision: The positioning accuracy of NearLink car keys is within 0.6 meters, with an in-car and out-of-car recognition error of within 0.2 meters, eliminating traditional issues like ping-pong and standing still, meeting the experience requirements of smart entry systems;
  • Security: NearLink itself implements security mechanisms at the underlying link level, using TOF technology to obtain real distances, and phase difference ranging to get precise distances, resisting attacks by emitting false signals through signal amplifiers;
  • Stability: Through high bandwidth and polar coding, it offers a more stable experience, performing better in complex signal environments like underground parking lots, with anti-interference characteristics ensuring connection stability and anti-multipath characteristics ensuring experience in various environments;
  • Long-distance: Enhances connection and precision at longer distances, allowing earlier detection of vehicles, providing sufficient time and more accurate judgment for interactions between the car and the key, ensuring a consistent experience for smart entry systems.

Whole-Home Intelligence

NearLink will support the use of smart gateways, with plans to release a NearLink 3in1 router in the future. This router product will see an improvement in bandwidth speed while supporting Bluetooth, NearLink, and Wi-Fi.

It is reported that the NearLink 3in1 router supports connection and use of products such as cameras and smartphones, intelligently switching connection methods according to user scenarios. For example, when connecting a smartphone, it can use NearLink for transmission in scenarios where high data connection is not used (such as browsing TikTok, playing games, etc.), thereby reducing the smartphone’s power consumption, achieving “almost no power consumption when the screen is off”.

NearLink technology boasts two major advantages: fast development and strong performance, with over 200 commonly used interface developments and interface usage guidance. Additionally, NearLink will support national encryption and multi-rate Polar channel coding, with a rate of 12 Mbps.

In April this year, the NearLink 2.0 series standards were released, completing the NearLink end-to-end protocol system, providing a more comprehensive communication foundation and richer application standards, fully supporting native audio-visual, human-computer interaction, positioning, and other applications.