Ericsson has launched AIR 3246 radio product, a complement to Ericsson’s global 5G radio offering — for Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (Massive MIMO).
The Sweden-based telecom equipment maker said AIR 3246, which will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2018, supports both 4G / LTE and 5G NR technologies and is Ericsson’s first 5G NR radio for frequency division duplex (FDD).
Dell’Oro Group forecasts that there will be an installed base of 10 million LTE macro radios in high traffic and metro areas by 2021 and service providers are expected to capitalize on the improved spectral efficiency made possible with Massive MIMO.
The expansion of the 5G radio product will enable telecom operators – especially in metropolitan areas – to bring 5G to subscribers using today’s mid-band spectrum and boost capacity in their LTE networks.
Ericsson’s 5G Platform includes three previously launched time division duplex (TDD) radios capable of supporting 5G and Massive MIMO, as well as core, transport, digital support and security elements.
“The new radio will enable operators to enhance 4G capacity for their subscribers and be ready for 5G tomorrow, using the same hardware. We also complement the products with a set of network services, simplifying the journey to 5G for our customers,” said Fredrik Jejdling, head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson.
The probability of a smart device suffering from insufficient data network speed can be 20 percent during peak hours, according to Ericsson’s analysis of 4G network performance in metropolitan areas around the world.
Massive MIMO is a key technology to bridge from 4G to 5G, adding intelligent capacity and boosting user experience.
“Just as carrier aggregation has been key to adding needed capacity to mobile broadband networks, Massive MIMO has the potential to be the primary capacity enabler in the next upgrade phase, providing a smooth transition towards 5G,” said Stefan Pongratz, senior director at the Dell’Oro Group.
T-Mobile US is trialing FDD Massive MIMO on three sites in Baltimore, Maryland. This will be the first time that standardized Massive MIMO will be used to carry commercial LTE traffic using mid-band FDD spectrum.
“T-Mobile’s racing forward at breakneck pace with Ericsson’s next-gen tech that advances LTE today and paves the way for 5G tomorrow,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer for T-Mobile.
Ericsson said Massive MIMO on FDD can increase network capacity up to three times and bring up to five times better user throughput, boosting performance for the end users. Today’s global base is primarily on FDD technology and devices, which separates uplink and downlink streams on different radio frequencies.