Ericsson launches 5G RAN commercial software based on new 3GPP NR standard

Ericsson radios (Ericsson)
Ericsson said its installed base of radio products delivered since 2015 will support 5G NR through a remote software installation. (Ericsson)

Ericsson announced the launch of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) commercial software based on the 5G New Radio (NR) standard that the 3GPP ratified in December, enabling operators to launch 5G by the fourth quarter of this year.

And its installed base of radio products? It’s also got a way to make legacy radios from 2015 onward software upgradeable to 5G.

Ericsson said that all radio products within the Ericsson Radio System delivered since 2015 will support 5G NR capability through a remote software installation. That applies to more than 150 different radio variants in its system that are active in more than 190 networks around the world.

The 5G NR readiness also applies to its micro radio in the Ericsson Radio System and existing Radio Dot System products. “In short, all Ericsson Radio System products are ready for 5G NR,” the vendor said in a press release.

“We have a long history of strong backwards compatibility and our products and software are built for evolution—with Ericsson, there is no need to rip and replace,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, in a statement. “Investments in Ericsson Radio System since 2015 will continue to bring operators value when the time is right to transition to 5G.”

Separately, Ericsson said it has expanded the 5G Core System offering with new capabilities to support 5G NR and enhanced its Distributed Cloud solution. It’s also introducing a new category of radio products called Street Macro, something in between macro and micro that resides, as implied, at the street level.

As part of the 5G readiness effort, Ericsson believes the cloud is very much a part of 5G, and it continues to work with its customers on SDN and NFV to create a strong ecosystem, collaborating with public cloud service providers, according to Sheng-Ann Yu, head of Solution Line Distributed Cloud. Ericsson has been actively engaging with the likes of AT&T and China Mobile as part of the ONAP effort, and it’s active in open source activities in many regions of the world, she said.

Ericsson said its Distributed Cloud offering has evolved for cloud application deployment across multiple sites: central, distributed and edge. Managed, orchestrated and perceived as one solution, it improves latency, security and resilience and fulfills regulatory requirements for 5G-enabled use cases. Ericsson is also supporting a multivendor framework.

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Ericsson introduced its 5G Platform in February 2017 with additions made in September the same year. It comprises the 5G core, radio and transport portfolios together with OSS/BSS, network services and security.