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Ericsson adds to 5G portfolio with radio dot

Ericsson has added an indoor small cell solution to its 5G portfolio, with the 5G Radio Dot to be tested at the end of this year ahead of commercial availability in 2019.

Ericsson has unveiled its 5G Radio Dot, saying the small cell solution will enhance indoor mobile networks and support 3-6GHz spectrum bands with speeds of up to 2Gbps.

It will also take half the time to install when compared to similar indoor solutions, and will "over time" support industrial 5G applications including connected mining, connected factories, and connected hospitals, according to Ericsson.

"Adding small cell solutions to our 5G portfolio is a natural part of the network evolution," Ericsson head of Product Area Network Infrastructure Nishant Batra said. "Enterprises have been asking for first-rate connectivity indoors, as well as higher speeds and capacity to serve advanced use cases that cannot be addressed by traditional indoor systems."

Ericsson will undertake trials of its 5G Radio Dot in late 2018, ahead of it becoming commercially available in 2019, with the product an extension of its previous 4G Radio Dot System. The latter has been deployed by telcos across indoor venues such as office buildings, hospitals, airports, and shopping malls.

"Operators will be able to deploy 5G Radio Dot next to 4G solutions using the same cabling infrastructure, same network architecture, and dot locations," Ericsson explained.

"This innovative small cell solution provides a simple upgrade path for existing Radio Dot System deployments, adding 5G technology capabilities. It is easy to add frequency, capacity, and technologies."

The 5G Radio Dot follows Ericsson last year unveiling three small cell solutions that it said would help prepare networks for the launch of 5G as well as Internet of Things (IoT) uptake by extending coverage and capacity using LTE/5G tight interworking.

The networking giant labelled its three small cell solutions, which will be commercially available this year, the Multi-Operator Dot and the Multi-Dot Enclosure for indoor deployments, and the Strand-Mount Unit for outdoor micro radios.

Ericsson last month raised almost $400 million, including $220 million from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and $150 million from AB Svensk Exportkredit, to be used to support its 5G, mobile, and IoT research and development (R&D) activities.

The NSA 5G NR specs were approved by standards body 3GPP in December, with an accelerated 5G deployment as a result announced by Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, AT&T, BT, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Fujitsu, KT Corporation, LG Electronics, LG Uplus, MediaTek, NEC Corporation, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Qualcomm, SK Telecom, Sony Mobile Communications, Sprint, TIM, Telefonica, Telia Company, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, and ZTE.

Last month alone, Ericsson was chosen to build the 5G networks of mobile carriers Deutsche Telekom and Verizon, while also running trials with AT&T in Texas and KDDI in Japan, and joining the Australian government's 5G working group.

It also completed several global 5G New Radio (5G NR) interoperability trials following the 3GPP standardisation with Australian mobile carrier Telstra; United States carriers T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T; Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo; Korean carrier SK Telecom; and European carriers Vodafone and Orange.

The live demonstrations utilised the 3.6GHz and millimetre-wave (mmWave) 28GHz spectrum frequencies using Ericsson's pre-commercial 5G base stations.

Ericsson added a frequency-division duplex (FDD) radio with support for 5G and Massive MIMO to its 5G platform in September, saying it will provide a "bridge" between 4G and 5G by boosting capacity with current mobile spectrum.

The AIR 3246 radio supports both 4G LTE and 5G NR technologies, and will speed up 5G launches for operators, Ericsson said at the time, as well as allow them to boost 4G capacity in metropolitan networks.

As a result, Ericsson claims to have "the most complete 5G portfolio in the industry".

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