Ericsson announces 5G standalone NR software and 2 new Massive MIMO radios

Ericsson released a software update to its cellular base station hardware that the vendor says will markedly improve 5G network performance by increasing its capacity and coverage, especially indoors and in hard-to-reach areas. The upgrade will support a 3GPP Release 15 specification of Standalone 5G New Radio (NR)  which, unlike NSA (Non Stand Alone), does not need 4G LTE infrastructure such as signalling, mobile packet core and network management.

Ericsson says its 5G standalone NR software makes for a new network architecture, delivering key benefits such as ultra-low latency and even better coverage (says the company).

Ericsson also announced what it calls inter-band NR carrier aggregation, which is software that extends the coverage and capacity of NR on mid bands and high bands when combined with NR on low bands. Ericsson claims the software can help improve speeds in areas with poor coverage and in indoor environments.

Ericsson says it is evolving its cloud solution with an offering optimized for edge computing to meet user demand. This will enable service providers to offer new consumer and enterprise 5G services such as augmented reality and content distribution at low cost, low latency, and high accuracy.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “We continue to focus our efforts on helping our customers succeed with 5G. These new solutions will allow them to follow the 5G evolution path that fits their ambitions in the simplest and most efficient way.”

The new standalone 5G NR software can be installed on existing Ericsson Radio System hardware. Coupled with Ericsson’s 5G dual-mode Cloud Core solutions, the new products are aimed at opening new business opportunities for service providers – especially having established an architecture that facilitates agility, provides advanced support for network slicing and enables the speedy creation of new services.

Most pre-standard “5G” network operators have deployed NSA (Non Stand Alone) using LTE infrastructure.  Once the 5G coverage has been established, they can now also deploy standalone.

Low bands will play a key role in cost-efficiently extending the coverage provided by 5G deployments to date. Ericsson has also launched Inter-band NR Carrier Aggregation – a new software feature that extends the coverage and capacity of NR on mid- and high bands when combined with NR on low bands. This will improve speeds indoors and in areas with poor coverage.

Two new Massive MIMO radios have also been added to the Ericsson Radio System mid-band portfolio, allowing service providers to build 5G with precision: AIR 1636 for wider coverage which provides optimized performance on longer inter-site distances; and AIR 1623 for easy site build with minimal total cost of ownership.

Ericsson's 5G hardware is now being used in networks launching all over the world.Ericsson’s 5G hardware is now being used in networks all over the world.  Image courtesy of Ericsson


5G (with low latency as per 3GPP Release 16 and later- IMT 2020) will enable augmented reality, content distribution and gaming, and other applications that require low latency and high bandwidth to perform with accuracy. To help service providers meet these requirements and offer new consumer and enterprise services, Ericsson is evolving its cloud solution with the launch of Ericsson Edge NFVI (Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure), optimized for the network edge.

A compact and highly efficient solution, Ericsson Edge NFVI is part of the end-to-end managed and orchestrated distributed cloud architecture, which makes it possible to distribute workloads, optimize the network and enable new services in the cloud.

Ericsson is also launching the Ericsson partner VNF Certification Service, a partner certification program for virtual network functions (VNF). The service is open to all VNF vendors and grants a certification on the Ericsson NFVI platform using Ericsson Labs. This will create an ecosystem with a shorter time-to-market for working with partners and applications.

Industry Analyst Hugh Ujhazy, Vice President, IOT & Telecommunications at International Data Corporation (IDC), Asia Pacific, says: “Ericsson’s latest 5G offerings equip service providers with an even broader 5G portfolio by adding the Standalone NR option.  The series of solutions being added to the Ericsson 5G platform will allow service providers to deploy 5G sensibly and address new business opportunities with full flexibility. What you get is faster, cheaper, makes better use of existing assets and with fewer truck rolls.  That’s pretty cool.”

Dana Cooperson, Research Director, Analysis Mason, says: “Improved E2E 4G/5G network architecture flexibility and new 5G use cases require distribution to the edge. To be successful in providing new services it is essential to have a cost-efficient platform for distributed workloads. Ericsson’s initiative with the Edge NFVI solution and distributed cloud architecture will contribute to service providers’ success in 5G.”




2 thoughts on “Ericsson announces 5G standalone NR software and 2 new Massive MIMO radios

  1. Sweden’s Ericsson sees Brazil switching on 5G network by early 2021

    Ericsson expects Brazil to switch on its fifth-generation (5G) network by early 2021, several months after a spectrum auction set for March next year, a top executive told Reuters.

    The company is working closely with local operators and Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel to test the technology ahead of the long-awaited auction, said Eduardo Ricotta, president of Ericsson Latam South.

    He said the pace of 5G deployment in Brazil would depend on each carrier’s strategic plan, but it could take several months to switch on the ultrafast network once they win the spectrum rights, as work to avoid interference from other services is required.

    “Cleaning up the bandwidth is necessary because some of the frequencies to be allocated to 5G might have interferences with satellites,” Ricotta said. “We are still conducting tests with Anatel to determine what has to be done, but deployment is likely between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.”

  2. Ericsson, has completed a mobile network expansion project in the South East region of Ethiopia, which it interrupted due to a disagreement with Ethio Telecom sometime ago. The mobile expansion project was supposed to be completed in December 2016. However, due to a disagreement with the former management of Ethio Telecom, Ericsson suspended the project.

    In a press conference held on Tuesday, CEO of Ethio Telecom, Frehiwot Tamru, disclosed that at the beginning of the budget year Ericsson decided to pull out of Ethiopia. Frehiwot said after a series of negotiations Ericsson agreed to resume work with Ethio Telecom.

    Accordingly, Ericsson completed the mobile network expansion project in South East region covering Bishoftu, Modjo and Adama towns. As a result we are able to accommodate additional data traffic,” Frehiwot said. We are undertaking mobile network expansion projects in Ericsson site” in Hawassa, Jimma and Adama towns where there is a traffic congestion,” she added.

    Frehiwot said that the negotiation with Ericsson took a long time. However, she said, finally the two parties have agreed to work together. Ericsson supplied all the telecom equipment required to undertake the mobile network expansion project.

    According to Ethio Telecom, the number of telephone subscribers has reached 43.6 million. The tele density stood at 44.5 percent. Of the total 43.6 million subscribers, 41.92 million are mobile voice subscribers, 22.3 million data and internet users and 1.2 million fixed line service subscribers.

    According to Frehiwot, globally the trend shows that voice traffic declined by 11 percent while data traffic increased by a whopping 130 percent in Ethiopia.

    The quality of the mobile network is shaky. To improve the quality of mobile service the new management of Ethio Telecom is undertaking mobile network expansion projects.

    According to Frehiwot, the company is currently working on 11 sites in Addis Ababa and its environs. The challenge we are facing is securing site locations on time,” she said. However, she said that the company has secured eight sites and is undertaking the civil works. These are the projects that require tower. We have completed work on expansion projects on hardware and software. As a result we are able to accommodate 30-40 percent additional traffic,” she added.

    Ethio Telecom has made a tariff discount amounting to 40-50 percent that increased the data traffic by 130 percent. Incoming international calls have also increase substantially. Ethio Telecom used to handle 200,000 incoming international calls daily this has surged to 2.2 million after Ethio Telecom introduced a significant discount on its termination fee. The state monopoly earned a profit of 24.5 billion birr in the budget year that ended in June 2019.

    Chinese telecom giants, Huawei Technologies Co LTD and ZTE Corp, are undertaking mobile network expansion project. The total cost of the mobile network expansion project is estimated at 1.6 billion dollars.

    Frehiwot said that ZTE and Huawei are Ethiopia’s strategic partners. Asked by journalists about the impacts of the US sanctions on Huawei, Frehiwot said that since Huawei has been actively engaged in telecom infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia, Ethio Telecom and Huawei are jointly studying the possible impacts of the US sanctions on the company that may have repercussions on Ethiopia’s telecom infrastructure.

    Ethio Telecom has developed a three-year telecom development strategy, which was approved by the board of directors last week. Ethio Telecom board is chaired by Temesgen Tiruneh, who was recently appointed as president of the Amhara Regional State.

    The Ethiopian government has enacted a new law that enables it to liberalize the telecom sector. The 125-year-old state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, would be partially privatized and additional two international telecom operators would join the local telecom market through a competitive bid. The government has hired international consulting firms that would undertake asset valuation of Ethio Telecom.

    Ethio telecom is an integrated telecommunications solutions provider operating the whole of Ethiopia.

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