Ericsson 5G data call using dynamic spectrum sharing with Qualcomm 5G Modem-RF System

Ericsson said in a press release that it made the world’s first 5G data call using dynamic spectrum sharing.   Ericsson Spectrum Sharing allows an existing LTE carrier to operate 5G New Radio (NR) and LTE simultaneously – with a simple software upgrade. The solution is based on innovative intelligent scheduler algorithms that enable optimal performance as the mix of 4G and 5G devices in the network changes over time.

The 5G data call was made between a 5G mobile test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System and a commercial LTE smartphone.  The LTE smartphone and the 5G testing device data call sections were running simultaneously on the same FDD low band spectrum, the referenced commercial hardware and Ericsson Radio System software.   The call took place in August at Ericsson’s lab in Ottawa, Canada using an Ericsson macro radio that supported both 4G and 5G.

Ericsson said that this technology is poised to change how new generation radio access technologies are introduced in operator networks using one of the most limited resources in mobile, which is spectrum.  With dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), operators can introduce 5G immediately in the same band as 4G. The technology dynamically allocates spectrum resources between 4G and 5G based on user demand.

Ericsson says its DSS is based on proprietary scheduler algorithms that enable optimal performance as the mix of 4G and 5G devices in the network changes over time.

Ericsson Spectrum Sharing

Ericsson Spectrum Sharing software dynamically shares spectrum between 4G and 5G carriers based on traffic demand. For every millisecond, the split of simultaneous 4G and 5G capacity is adjusted to secure an optimal performance for any mix of 4G and 5G active devices in the network. This minimizes spectrum wastage and results in the best end-user performance.

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Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson, says, “With Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, service providers can reuse their Ericsson Radio System investments on bands currently used for LTE to support the introduction of 5G. With the TCO advantages offered by Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, we are convinced that it will be a catalyst to drive the rapid build-out of wide area 5G coverage. This first call marks an important milestone in evolving the 5G networks to cater for the extreme demands ahead.”

“This achievement is the result of our longstanding collaboration with Ericsson and is a critical step toward enabling operators worldwide to utilize DSS for a seamless global transition to nationwide 5G,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With DSS support included in our comprehensive Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System architecture, we’re looking forward to helping fast-track the mobile industry to nationwide coverage during the second phase of 5G commercialization next year.”

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As 5G commercial rollouts move ahead, spectrum sharing represents an attractive option for service providers looking to rapidly roll out 5G on FDD bands without the need to re-farm spectrum. This milestone achieved by Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies shows real progress towards rapid 5G commercialization, with dynamic spectrum sharing playing a key role.

Traditionally, new generation radio access technologies are deployed on separate spectrum blocks – as was the case with 2G, 3G and 4G. This would require operators to buy new spectrum or re-farm the existing spectrum to allocate the new generation. This is a very slow and costly process. Spectrum re-farming could take a decade but with spectrum sharing, this can be done overnight. Dynamic spectrum sharing revolutionizes the introduction of new technologies with a breakthrough innovation that allows the deployment of both 4G and 5G in the same band and dynamically allocates spectrum resources between 4G and 5G based on user demand.

Ericsson says it provides an opportunity for service providers to extend the coverage of new 5G NR mid and high bands by applying Inter-band NR Carrier Aggregation between low-mid and low-high frequency bands. Here, Ericsson Spectrum Sharing is key to allowing an easy introduction of NR on low bands. In combination with NR Carrier Aggregation, spectrum sharing can typically double the coverage area of new 5G mid and high band cells, delivering hundreds of megabits per second indoors and at cell edge.

According to an Ericsson study* 73 percent of the service providers that were the first to move on with 4G have gained market share in their respective markets. The combination of l fast time-to commercialization with low investments requirements has made spectrum sharing an essential part of an operator’s 5G strategy.

*Ericsson study on 15 largest markets in the world that have 4G (Data from Ovum WCS database).

–> Read more about sharing spectrum for faster and smoother deployments of 5G

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Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg has repeatedly said that the carrier plans to use Ericsson’s DSS as an integral part of its 5G strategy. However, Ericsson’s DSS technology only works on its New Radio equipment deployed in the same spectrum currently being used for LTE.  And, Verizon has not divulged whether it is deploying Ericsson NR equipment in any of its LTE spectrum. When talking about 5G, Verizon mainly talks about its mmWave deployments in high frequency spectrum that has never been used for LTE.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said on a recent earnings call, “To get to dynamic spectrum sharing, you’ll deploy New Radio. So, I am yet to hear anybody in Verizon declare that they are deploying New Radio in low-band or mid-band. And, if you want to use DSS, you are effectively committing in the same breath to rolling out 5G in mid- and low band. I haven’t heard that yet as a declared strategy for a Verizon.”

 

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2019/9/ericsson-spectrum-sharing

https://www.ericsson.com/en/networks/offerings/5g/sharing-spectrum-with-ericsson-spectrum-sharing

https://www.fiercewireless.com/5g/ericsson-makes-5g-data-call-using-dynamic-spectrum-sharing

 

 

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