While a lot of vendors are making claims about being first with this or that in 5G, Ericsson is promising a big one, saying it is commercializing the world’s first 5G New Radio (NR) for massive MIMO, with the first deployments to come in 2017.
The announcement comes as the U.S. wireless industry prepares to convene in Las Vegas next week for CTIA’s Super Mobility 2016, where 5G is sure to be a popular topic. Ericsson already announced its 5G Plug-Ins in June to address diverse 5G use cases, and it’s working with more than 20 mobile operators worldwide on 5G networking and use cases.
“This launch is quite comprehensive” and includes a total of 12 products, Joakim Sorelius, head of 5G architecture at Ericsson, told FierceWirelessTech.
Ericsson's first 5G NR is dubbed the AIR 6468; it supports high-performance beamforming inside the radio, Massive MIMO and Multi-User MIMO 5G Plug-ins. The AIR 6468 combines advanced antennas with a large number of steerable ports to enable beamforming. Its capabilities are designed to improve the user experience while enhancing capacity and coverage and reducing interference.
Exclusive to Ericsson is instant power sharing, as seen in the wideband Radio 2242, allowing power to be instantly shared between carriers, standards and bands, optimizing radio resources. Cloud RAN is also covered in Ericsson's 5G network architecture, and its Baseband C608 provides high-performance switching in Elastic RAN deployments.
5G is driven by use cases, including self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT), but the standards are still being finalized. Ericsson is working closely with 3GPP, where the standards are being hatched, and has been involved in 5G field trials for a while, so it has a good idea what the ultimate standard is going to cover, according to Sorelius.
Ericsson is also working with all the major U.S. wireless operators to some degree or another. “We have all the components needed for a 5G radio access network, and we’re the first to deliver” it, with products on schedule to ship next year, Sorelius said. In addition, “all these products can improve the performance of LTE networks,” including in the LTE-U and LAA arenas.
Operators appear to appreciate the future-proof nature of Ericsson's products. “As we accelerate toward 5G, it’s beneficial to have a flexible radio platform that can be deployed not only for LTE, but also versions of future 5G NR standards,” said Tom Keathley, senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, in a press release.
“Massive-MIMO, also known as 3D MIMO, is an important milestone in China Mobile’s technology roadmap from 4G to 5G,” Huang Yuhong, deputy head at China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI), said in the release. “We are very happy that Ericsson’s new radio product is coming to market soon to meet our needs and enable us to integrate 5G technologies into our existing networks.”
- see this Wall Street Journal article