Some of the industry's biggest vendors clearly will be showcasing their wares with an eye toward 5G when they exhibit at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain, next week.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK) each released new product news ahead of MWC, where, like it or not, 5G is expected to be a dominant theme.
Alcatel-Lucent says it is launching a new portfolio of LTE radio access network technologies that will enable operators to make a smooth transition to next-generation network architectures, including the application of network functions virtualization (NFV) and the introduction of 5G services.
Its new LTE radio access network (RAN) portfolio aims to address the biggest challenge mobile operators will face in the near-future: the ability to meet demand for capacity-consuming data services such as video.
In particular, Alcatel-Lucent's new 9926 eNodeB--comprising a digital baseband unit and radio frequency (RF) platform--provides the flexibility to use existing radio spectrum and deliver the high-bandwidth LTE services, the company says. In the process, it allows operators to increase capacity and improve spectrum use more efficiently, while simplifying deployments and lowering costs, the company says.
The new digital baseband unit (BBU) will consume 50 less energy while almost tripling existing capacity--supporting up to 24 radio cells and 16,000 users in one unit. Supporting both LTE-TDD and LTE-FDD technologies, the baseband unit can be deployed with existing BBUs. The baseband unit also has been designed to allow operators to deploy a centralized network architecture, providing an evolutionary path toward next-generation networks, including the implementation of virtualized RAN (vRAN) infrastructure, as well as the eventual launch of 5G networks.
Millimeter wave wireless backhaul solutions provider Siklu also announced that its 60 and 80 GHz radios will supplement Alcatel-Lucent's 9500 MPR product family for small cell backhaul in dense environments. Siklu will be showcasing the EtherHaul gigabit radios at MWC.
Ericsson held an invitation-only pre-MWC presentation in London last week, where it said its Radio System is a step-change in the way mobile networks are constructed that can help to remove site acquisition issues by enabling operators to install equipment on rooftops. The company said its multi-layer, multi-band radio system simultaneously operates in TDD and FDD modes of LTE and delivers three times the capacity density and a 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to traditional radio equipment. The new radio system is due to launch in the third quarter of this year.
Ericsson also says its Router 6000 series addresses end-to-end network security concerns and demand for higher operational efficiency. The advanced radio integrated transport, along with service provider software-defined network (SDN) functionality and Ericsson Network Manager, enables application-aware traffic engineering with plug-and-play installation.
The new router series is a key element in Ericsson's next-generation portfolio, a suite of platforms running one network operating system, spanning from cell-site routers to edge, mobile core and data centers, according to the company. When deployed together with the new Ericsson Virtual Router, the enhanced portfolio enables flexible introduction of distributed cloud applications.
Nokia Networks' live demonstrations at MWC will include 5G radio equipment on new millimeter and centimeter wave bands for "utmost capacity" as well as new frame structures to achieve single-digit millisecond latency, the company said in a press release. Such a configuration allows for the immediate synchronous eye-hand feedback that enables remote control over robots working in construction and maintenance. Booth visitors will get a chance to see LTE optimized for the specific needs of sensor and machine networks.
Also on its roster of demonstrations will be Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), also called LTE-U, technology using Nokia Flexi Zone small cells, currently deployed by T-Mobile US to enhance the capacity of its LTE network. The demonstration will include carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum and the technology's co-existence with Wi-Fi.
Nokia Networks also says it is launching its extended Mobile Guard solution for what it calls "state-of-the-art" security control to address complex IoT applications, including smart city, eHealth and smart grid.
Demonstrations will include the prototype 5G mm and cm wave radio systems that use advanced antennas and operate in the 3.5-70 GHz bands for extreme throughput and ultra-low latency; extended Nokia Mobile Guard to detect malware or abnormal IoT device behavior via device profiling; and an LTE-M prototype (with Korea Telecom) to connect an extreme number of wearables, cars and smart grid elements ensuring a battery life of more than 10 years and providing four times more coverage than conventional LTE.
Ericsson will be at MWC in Hall 2, Stand 2N60. Alcatel-Lucent is in Hall 3 at Stand 3K10, while Nokia Networks will be in Hall 3 at Stand 3B10.
- see this Wireless Week article
Ericsson modular radio system leads company's MWC 2015 announcements
Ericsson, GMA to showcase 'Multi-Domestic Service' M2M platform at MWC
Jarich on MWC 2015: Were you annoyed by 5G last year? Prepare for something worse
SK Telecom will demo three-band LTE-A carrier aggregation at MWC 2014