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 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.
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.”
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).
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.”
T-Mobile and Ericsson have conducted the first standalone 5G data session in the United States.
“This major 5G breakthrough is another example of how the T-Mobile engineering team continues to innovate and drive the entire industry forward. I could not be more proud of them,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. “5G brings a new era in wireless, and if our merger with Sprint is approved, the New T-Mobile will bring together the resources and vision necessary to ensure America has a network that’s second to none,” he added.
Existing 5G networks are non standalone (NSA) and require a simultaneous connection to an LTE network. While a non-standalone architecture still offers better speeds and performance than just LTE, a standalone architecture makes sense for some new enterprise 5G services such as smart cities.
T-Mobile used Ericsson’s AIR 6488 radio and Baseband 6630. These products, from Ericsson’s Radio System portfolio, can become standalone with just a software update Ericsson says (we have our doubts).
According to Ericsson, Standalone New Radio (SA NR) – coupled with cloud-native 5G Core – will help to power exciting new applications such as mobile VR, cloud gaming, and connected cars. Such applications require almost real-time responses and reliable connectivity.
3GPP Release 15 “5G New Radio (NR)” is an OFDM-based global wireless spec for pre-standard 5G mobile networks.
It has two versions: Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR (widely deployed) and Standalone 5G NR (not deployed yet).
Accomplishing this standalone 5G milestone on a multi-vendor 5G next generation network was no small feat. To complete the successful data session in its Bellevue, Washington lab, T-Mobile enlisted the help of industry leaders Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco and MediaTek.
Standalone New Radio (SA NR) – coupled with cloud-native 5G Core – will provide better support for all use cases and unlock the power of next-generation mobile technology. It will supercharge applications that require real-time responses and massive connectivity such as mobile augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), cloud gaming, smart factories and meters, and connected vehicles.
T-Mobile has not specified what spectrum it used for the standalone 5G data session, but a spokesperson has confirmed it was sub-6GHz.
As part of concessions to win the Department of Justice’s approval for the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger, Sprint will divest its prepaid business to Dish. Dish will have access to T-Mobile’s network through an MVNO arrangement for seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G standalone network.
T-Mobile says it plans to introduce standalone 5G in 2020, but that will NOT be compatible with IMT 2020 which won’t be completed till the end of that year!
All of today’s 5G networks in the US are currently non standalone (NSA), based on 3GPP Release 15 5G NR in the data plane. 3GPP Release 16, together with parts of Release 15, will be 3GPP’s final IMT 2020 RIT submission to ITU-R WP5D.
3GPP has agreed revised completion dates for Release 16 – schedule shifted out by 3 months:
- Release 16 RAN-1 Freeze RAN # 86 December 2019
- Release 16 RAN Stage 3 Freeze RAN # 87 March 2020
- Release 16 ASN.1 Freeze RAN # 88 June 2020
- Release 16 RAN-4 Freeze RAN # 89 September 2020
Proposal to develop a draft new ITU-R WP 5D Report on IMT-2020 for remote sparsely populated areas providing high data rate coverage
ITU-R WP5D July 2019 meeting contribution by LM Ericsson
Ericsson proposes that ITU-R WP 5D develops a Report that addresses the specific needs for high data rate coverage for sparsely populated and under-served areas using suitable frequency spectrum bands.
[This author thoroughly agrees with Ericsson’s proposal!]
IMT-2020 networks have the capacity of satisfying the need for high data rate coverage for enhanced mobile broadband services in under-served and remote, sparsely populated areas. In this contribution we are suggesting that work be started on a Report giving details on prospects associated with the provisioning of enhanced mobile broadband services to remote, sparsely populated and underserved areas, proposing enhancements of user equipment (UE) as well as for networks in suitable frequency bands
- for user equipment, possible solutions based on affordable user deployed equipment combined with access to local spectrum at user premises could be considered and examined, and
- for network equipment, possible solutions based on high gain massive MIMO antennas could be reviewed.
A significant part of the global population is currently connected to existing cellular and mobile broadband sites. As a complement, users in remote sparsely populated and under-served areas could be connected to higher tower sites.
The proposed Report could, for example, consider an existing GSM cellular site grid designed for voice coverage, which could be estimated to reach high downlink data rates at a cell edge of IMT-2020 coverage ranges using conventional UE and network equipment. The Report would need, however, to focus on and consider the uplink performance characteristics which may be regarded as not being satisfactory without further elaborations on policy, spectrum and other aspects. For example, consider suggesting enhancements on UE and network equipment as well as consider using high tower installations that may provide coverage reach far beyond that is currently supported by typical GSM sites.
With regard to current perceptions, it is easy to get the impression that IMT-2020 is primarily targeting a shorter-range network build using millimeter wave (mmW) bands supporting extremely demanding requirements on latency, capacity, and very high peak data rates.
However, it is suggested that IMT-2020 is designed to operate in frequency bands ranging from low-bands to high-bands and can be configured to perform better or on-par with IMT-Advanced in every aspect, also in rural sparsely populated areas. IMT-2020 has evolved from IMT-Advanced, adding significant improvements to an already capable and proven design. IMT-2020 provides two fundamental benefits relevant for longer-range coverage
- Firstly, it is designed to fully utilize massive MIMO, and
- Secondly, it is based on a flexible and lean design reducing energy consumption.
To achieve longer-range, earlier cellular and mobile broadband systems have relied on low-bands. System operated in bands around the frequency range 450 MHz having excellent coverage, but with the limitation of available bandwidth. Pushing uses to higher and higher frequency bands is clearly resulting in increased capacity, but also in reduced coverage range.
For IMT-2020 massive MIMO configuration there is no longer a simple relation between low-band use and longer-range coverage. Using high-band frequencies the size of individual antenna element decreases, resulting in reduced efficiency of each antenna element. However, with massive MIMO this effect can be compensated for by adding antenna elements, effectively keeping the physical antenna size constant while moving to higher frequency bands.
Long-range cellular coverage is very much about using higher towers, higher power, and high gain antennas. In previous cellular systems, higher radio frequency (RF) power resulted in larger network energy consumption. IMT-2020 efficiently supports lean-design and massive MIMO as it provides the right tools to deploy longer-range systems supporting high peak data rates with lower average network energy consumption.
One offered solution to achieve both good coverage as well as high capacity is to use two or more frequency bands from low-band, mid-band and / or high-band, in an aggregated configuration. This approach has proven to be very effective in dense urban areas when deploying IMT-2020 in mmW bands in combination with a low-band or mid-band that can provide improved coverage.
When combined in an effective way, the high-band off-loads the traffic from the low-band and / or mid-band, resulting in significantly improved coverage as well as capacity. This could potentially also be a promising solution for bringing IMT-2020 to underserved rural sparsely populated areas. Combining IMT-2020 using a band in the range 3.5 GHz and IMT-Advanced in a band below the frequency 1 GHz on a GSM cellular grid can provide superior capacity compared to a standalone IMT-Advanced network deployment below 1 GHz. The reason being that in mid-bands in the range 3.5 GHz there is access to more bandwidth, and the low-band on a band below 1 GHz, provide coverage for cell edge users at the same time.
Considering the above, the proposed Report could review, discuss and assess the feasibility for potential enhancements for both network equipment and UE, it may consequently be viable to deploy IMT-2020 network in a band in the range 3.5 GHz providing high capacity and long-range coverage in underserved rural sparsely populated areas. This could be more feasible and economical than deploying new sites in these areas.
IMT-2020 could potentially provide high peak data rate and high capacity mobile broadband services in underserved rural sparsely populated areas by utilizing a band in the range 3.5 GHz, where typically 100 MHz bandwidth is available compared to 20 MHz that can be expected to be available in band in the range below 1 GHz. The Report could elaborate several possible enhancements using higher towers for extended range coverage. Further contribution based on studies, within the context of the proposed Report, would be required to find a technically as well as economically best practice solution resulting in sufficiently long-range, cell-edge throughput, and capacity. Such a solution could be to consider and review the use of both the existing grid of cellular towers and possibly the higher but also sparser television towers in combination, as well as reviewing a standalone 3.5 GHz configuration, or possible aggregation between the range 3.5 GHz for downlink and low-bands for uplink.
In addition, spectrum and policy aspects having a possible impact on a feasible network configuration may need to be addressed by a possible Report.
Ericsson proposes that WP 5D develops a draft new Report that addresses the specific needs for high data rate coverage for sparsely populated and under-served areas using suitable frequency spectrum.
Attachments 1 and 2 of Ericcson’s proposal, with more detailed proposals and time schedules, are only available to ITU member organizations and individuals with a TIES account.
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 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.”
Singapore network operator Singtel has opened Singapore’s first live 5G facility in conjunction with Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic. The 5G facility at Singapore Polytechnic’s Dover Road campus is named “5G Garage.” It is connected to Singapore’s pilot 5G network using the 3.5-GHz spectrum allocated by regulator IMDA for 5G trials. 5G Garage will serve as a training center, test bed and idea creation lab to develop Singapore’s 5G ecosystem.
The strategic objectives are:
• Build and operate a 5G facility where enterprises can develop and test 5G solutions
• Co-develop 5G solutions relevant to industries such as transportation, logistics, healthcare and manufacturing
• Develop and deliver 5G wireless technology curriculum for the SP’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
• Develop 5G capabilities of our workforce
Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, said, “Singtel is pleased to partner Ericsson and SP on our 5G Garage initiative. As Singapore advances its digital economy and becomes a Smart Nation, the benefits of 5G will first be seen in enterprises, especially in their digital transformation when they integrate technology into their processes, services and products. With 5G standards largely established (????), now is an opportune time for SMEs and enterprises to join us in shaping our 5G future.”
“As Singapore advances its digital economy and becomes a Smart Nation, the benefits of 5G will first be seen in enterprises, especially in their digital transformation when they integrate technology into their processes, services and products,” Chong added.
Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, Ericsson, states: “5G has the potential to transform industries and bring enhanced mobile broadband experience for consumers. At Ericsson, we are already collaborating globally with 42 operators, 45 institutes and 31 industry partners, to create a thriving 5G ecosystem. We are delighted to partner Singtel and Singapore Polytechnic towards the setting up of the 5G Garage, which we hope will stimulate SP students to come up with new 5G use cases.”
Enterprises will be able to use the facility to develop and test 5G solutions, and the three parties plan to co-develop 5G solutions for industries ranging from transport and logistics to healthcare to manufacturing. As part of the collaboration, around 250 final year students from the polytechnic’s Diploma in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Diploma in Computer Engineering will integrate 5G education and training into their coursework. Students in Singtel’s Engineering Cadet Scholarship Program will be given the opportunity to take up internships in the 5G garage.
5G Garage is the latest project in Singtel and Ericsson’s 5G Centre of Excellence programme which focuses on upgrading of employees’ skills, technology demonstrations, live field trials and collaborations with educational institutions. Last November, Singtel and Ericsson made Singapore’s first 5G data call over their 5G pilot network at one-north.
“The 5G Garage will be an exciting place where SP staff and students will work alongside Singtel, Ericsson and their partners to research and experiment with 5G technology, conduct 5G use case trials, and develop innovative 5G solutions and applications for businesses and industry,” said SP’s principal and chief executive, Mr Soh Wai Wah.
Out of more than 80 final-year projects developed by around 300 SP engineering students, three were chosen with potential for 5G Garage: an autonomous surveillance system that uses drones; a self-driving vehicle that can send real-time videos of the traffic situation to the cloud for data analysis and “intelligent” decision-making; and a pipe-climbing robot that uses magnetic wheels to attach itself onto metal structures and can provide a live feed of its surroundings via a mobile app.
Mr Mark Chong, Singtel group chief technology officer, said the engineering students demonstrated their capability to develop engineering solutions and help enterprises.
“The benefits of 5G will first be seen in enterprises, especially in their digital transformation when they integrate technology into their processes, services and products. With 5G standards largely established, now is an opportune time for SMEs and enterprises to join us in shaping our 5G future,” he said.
Infocomm Media Development Authority chief executive Tan Kiat How, the guest of honour at the event, said 5G will be an integral part of Singapore’s infrastructure. He said: “Apart from improved network speed and capacity, 5G’s significantly lower latency will allow us to maximize the potential of IoT (Internet of things) and smart city applications. These include autonomous vehicles, robotics or smart lamp posts.”
Ericsson has signed a $3.5 billion multi-year deal with T-Mobile to provide the “un-carrier” with “5G” network equipment. It’s the biggest 5G order that Ericsson has announced to date. That is in addition to the $3.5 billion “5G” agreement that T-Mobile inked with Nokia back in July.
As it moves from LTE Advanced (true 4G) to whatever it envisions as 5G, T-Mobile will use the Ericsson portfolio of products. Ericsson will be providing T-Mobile with 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and 3GPP-compatible software. Ericsson’s digital services like dynamic orchestration, business support systems and Ericsson cloud core will be used to help T-Mobile roll out “5G” services to its customers.
“We have recently decided to increase our investments in the U.S. to be closer to our leading customers and better support them with their accelerated 5G deployments; thereby bringing 5G to life for consumers and enterprises across the country,” Niklas Heuveldop, President of Ericsson North America, said in a statement. “This agreement marks a major milestone for both companies. We are excited about our partnership with T-Mobile, supporting them to strengthen, expand and speed up the deployment of their nationwide 5G network.”
The partnership with Ericsson implies that T-Mobile’s installed base of Ericsson Radio Systems will be able to run 3GPP release 15 spec. 5G NR with a remote software installation.
Ericsson increased its market share of the mobile networks market in the second quarter, partly due to faster network upgrades in the North American, where it ranks as the biggest supplier ahead of Nokia.
T-Mobile, the third biggest U.S. mobile carrier, said in February it was working with Ericsson and rival network vendor Nokia of Finland to build out 5G networks in 30 U.S. cities during 2018.
“While the other guys just make promises, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. With this new Ericsson agreement we’re laying the groundwork for 5G – and with Sprint we can supercharge the 5G revolution,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer. (Note that the FCC says it needs more time to review the T-Mobile-Sprint merger).
In an earlier announcement, T-Mobile says it has deployed 600 MHz (Band 71) Extended Range LTE in 1,254 cities and towns in 36 states, including the island of Puerto Rico. The Un-carrier’s furiously paced deployment of 600 MHz LTE is expanding network coverage and capacity, particularly in rural areas, and lays the foundation for nationwide 5G in 2020 with 5G-ready equipment.
T-Mobile’s Extended Range LTE signals travel twice as far from the tower and are four times better in buildings than mid-band LTE, providing increased coverage and capacity. The Un-carrier has already deployed Extended Range LTE to more than 80 percent of Americans with 700 MHz (Band 12), and rapidly began deploying it with 600 MHz (Band 71) last year to expand coverage and capacity even further.
In April 2017, T-Mobile made its largest network investment ever, tripling its low-band spectrum holdings by purchasing spectrum sold in the US government’s 600 MHz auction. Those licenses cover 100% of the US, including Puerto Rico. Immediately after receiving the licenses, T-Mobile began its rapid 600 MHz Extended Range LTE rollout. To accelerate the process of freeing up the spectrum for LTE, T-Mobile is working with broadcasters occupying 600 MHz spectrum to assist them in moving to new frequencies.
Ericsson has selected Juniper and ECI Telecom to provide 5G transport network gear, citing their expertise with optical and packet networks.
Alignment between the radio, core and transport layers of the network has never been more critical to meet the requirements of 5G use cases such as enhanced mobile broadband, fixed-wireless access, and massive and critical IoT. In this environment transport needs to keep pace with the rapid radio and architectural evolution in 5G networks.
With its focus on transport between radio and core functions, Ericsson delivers transport portfolios specifically for backhaul and fronthaul. Ubiquitous transport solutions for both 4G and 5G are gaining strong momentum with service providers and Ericsson’s flagship mobile backhaul product – Router 6000 – empowers close to 60 operators. More than 110 operators also use Ericsson’s 5G-ready microwave technology, MINI-LINK solutions.
Ercsson will use Juniper’s edge and core packet transport technologies (the MX and PTX series platforms) to support connectivity between radio cell sites and an operator’s core network. Ericsson will continue to offer its own Router 6000 and microwave products as packet backhaul options for 5G transport network deployments and will sell Juniper’s SRX Series Services Gateway network security system. “With Juniper there is no overlap and a good fit,” says Nishant Batra, Ericsson’s global head of network products.
ECI Telecom Ltd. will provide optical transport gear for the metro market for service providers as well as so-called “critical infrastructure” customers of Ericsson.
Ericsson notes that the Juniper and ECI platforms are “fully interoperable with Ericsson’s transport portfolio and will be managed by the same Ericsson management and orchestration solution. This will simplify the overall management and control of 5G across the radio, transport and core network.” It adds that the “management and orchestration solution will also provide integrated software-defined networking (SDN) control for Ericsson, Juniper and ECI nodes, enabling automated network control for applications such as network slicing and traffic optimization, to ensure the best possible user experience.”
“The partnerships help us strengthen areas where we are not building organically,” says Batra. “Instead of making a blanket commitment to be in IP, we have segmented into radio near, core and edge, and it’s the radio-near part we’ll address with our own products.”
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, says: “Our radio expertise and knowledge in network architecture, end-user applications and standardization work put us in an excellent position to understand the requirements 5G places on transport. By combining our leading transport portfolio with best-in-class partners, we will boost our transport offering and create the critical building blocks of next-generation transport networks that benefit our customers.”
Separately, Ericsson will acquire service assurance firm CENX, saying the company’s closed-loop automation work will be a boon to Ericsson’s virtualization plans.
Mats Karlsson, Head of Solution Area OSS, Ericsson, says: “Dynamic orchestration is crucial in 5G-ready virtualized networks. By bringing CENX into Ericsson, we can continue to build upon the strong competitive advantage we have started as partners. I look forward to meeting and welcoming our new colleagues into Ericsson.”
Closed-loop automation ensures Ericsson can offer its service provider customers an orchestration solution that is optimised for 5G use cases like network slicing, taking full advantage of Ericsson’s distributed cloud offering. Ericsson’s global sales and delivery presence – along with its strong R&D – will also create economies of scale in the CENX portfolio and help Ericsson to offer in-house solutions for OSS automation and assurance.
Ed Kennedy CEO, CENX says: “Ericsson has been a great partner – and for us to take the step to fully join Ericsson gives us the best possible worldwide platform to realize CENX’s ultimate goal – autonomous networking for all. Our closed-loop service assurance automation capability complements Ericsson’s existing portfolio very well. We look forward to seeing our joint capability add great value to the transformation of both Ericsson and its customers.”
CENX, founded in 2009, is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company achieved significant year-over-year revenue growth in the fiscal year that ended December 31, 2017. CENX employs 185 people.
Singtel and Ericsson will launch what is touted as Singapore’s first “5G” pilot network later this year. The 5G pilot network, scheduled to go live by the fourth quarter this year, will be deployed at one-north in Buona Vista, the city-state’s science, business and IT hub. Later this year, the network will support trials of drones and autonomous vehicle wireless communications – applications where very low latency is required.
Singtel and Ericsson will also work with enterprises at one-north to develop new 5G use cases and tap into the business potential of 5G.
NOTE: The press release incorrectly states: “Ericsson’s 3GPP standards compliant 5G technology….” As we have noted in many, many posts, 3GPP specifications are not standards and the 3GPP “5G” submission to ITU-R WP 5D for IMT 2020 won’t be completed till July 2019.
“5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications,” Singtel CTO Mark Chong said. “We are pleased to take another bold step in our journey to 5G with our 5G pilot network at one-north and invite enterprises to start shaping their digital future with us,” Chong added.
He told The Straights Times (see photo below):
“The location is in line with the government’s initiative to designate one-north as a test bed for autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems. For a start, we plan to conduct a drone trial on the pilot network to showcase network slicing capability.”
Aileen Chia, deputy chief executive and director-general (Telecoms & Post) at Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), described the 5G pilot network as “an encouraging step towards commercialization, with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place…IMDA will continue to work closely with mobile service providers such as Singtel in their journey to build communication capabilities of the future and complement Singapore’s efforts towards a vibrant digital economy.”
Last year, IMDA announced plans to let Singapore telcos test 5G services for free over two years and waived frequency fees for 5G trials until December 2019, as part of efforts to fuel 5G development in Singapore.
At the launch event on Monday, July 23rd, Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated a range of potential 5G use cases, including cutting-edge 3D augmented reality (AR) streaming over a 5G network operating in the 28-GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Participants were able to view and interact with lifelike virtual objects such as a photorealistic human anatomy and a 360-degree image of the world. The immersive experience was then streamed in real-time to a remote audience via 5G.
“5G represents a key mobile technology evolution, opening up new possibilities and applications,” said Mr Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager for Ericsson Singapore, Brunei & the Philippines. “We believe that 5G will play a key role in the digital transformation of the Singapore economy. Demonstrating the possibilities in this showcase event will be a catalyst for engagements with Singapore enterprises.”
Image courtesy of Singapore Straights Times.
The 5G pilot network is the result of a joint 5G initiative Singtel and Ericsson formed last year. In October 2017, the two companies set up a joint Certificate of Entitlement (CoE) to develop 5G technology, with an initial investment of $2 million to be deployed over three years.
Besides Singtel, Singapore’s other mobile carriers have also begun conducting their own 5G trials. M1 said last month it has partnered with Huawei to run tests in the 28-GHz mmWave spectrum, with plans to conduct the first 3.5-GHz non-standalone standards compliant field trial in Southeast Asia by the end of the year, and a 28-GHz and 3.5-GHz standalone field trial by mid-2019. StarHub is also working with Huawei on its 5G network trials.’
Ericsson is one of the top three wireless network equipment companies in the world (they were #1 until Huawei took that coveted spot). Approximately 40% of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks. The company has customers in 182 countries and offers comprehensive industry solutions ranging from Cloud services and Mobile Broadband to Network Design and Optimization. Ericcson also has one of the most compelling IoT platforms in their IoT Accelerator, which we described earlier this year.
Image above courtesy of Ericsson
Ericsson had a huge presence at IoT World 2018 with an impressive exhibit floor booth, a Wednesday private briefing session at their Santa Clara, CA location and three presentations at IoT World 2018 conference sessions.
I attended the private briefing at Ericsson- Santa Clara, got a tour of some of the exhibits there, heard the talk by Shannon Lucas (VP. Head of Emerging Business Unit in North America) on Tuesday and met with Ericsson’s IoT expert Mats Alendal on Thursday for a one on one conversation about Ericsson’s IoT strategy and associated wireless WANs (e.g. NB-IoT, LTE-M, and “5G”).
Most surprising was that Mats claimed that the transition from 4G LTE to whatever the 5G RAN/RIT is will be ONLY A SOFTWARE UPGRADE OF ERICSSON’S BASE STATION. He also said that if the 5G latency could be reduced to 1 or 2 ms, it would open up many new real time Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications that we haven’t thought of yet. Such a low latency would require a controlled environment, typically in a manufacturing plant or similar, and mm wave radio.
Currently most IIoT applications rely on wired connectivity on a factory floor, manufacturing plant or test facility. In a few cases wireless LANs (e.g. WiFi, Zigbee, proprietary) might be used. Hence, wireless WAN connectivity represents a big shift for many industrial customers. IIoT use cases in manufacturing require a wireless WAN with low latency, guaranteed delivery of messages/packets/frames, and instant control/feedback.
One of the best IIoT wireless WAN solutions is Private LTE. It’s probably more robust than cellular LPWANs (NB-IoT and LTE-M) and provides cost benefits as well. In a Thursday afternoon session, Nokia recommended Private LTE for many of those IIoT applications (more information by emailing this author). Ericsson is delivering Private LTE equipment via its 3GPP compliant, licensed and unlicensed bands for Private LTE.
IIoT use cases powered by Ericsson include connected factory robots, manufacture of highly precise bladed disks (BLISKs) for turbines, and spherical roller bearings for SKF. A case study for 5G trial for BLISKs may be viewed here.
Highlights of Shannon Lucas’ talk – Data Infrastructure: Mobile IoT: LPWAN & 5G:
- 18B connected IoT devices are expected by 2022 (that’s down from earlier forecasts of 20B and more by 2020)
- Edge computing network is needed for ultimate scalability and a great user experience (user might be a machine/device)
- Hardware innovation platform can make LTE-M and NB-IoT easier to implement for network operators. AT&T and Verizon are using Ericsson’s NB-IoT technology for their commercial offerings.
- Ericsson has driven standards for cellular connectivity, and that effort is now naturally extending into setting standards for IoT, and more specifically, cellular IoT. With standardization, the IoT becomes a platform from which collaboration between organizations, both private and public, will benefit us all.
- Ericsson’s standardized approach for connecting devices and sensors allows cities to collaborate and share data, regardless of legacy platforms. This helps engineers improve traffic flow, and allows emergency services to optimize response times.
- A collaboration between Ericsson, Intelight and Teleste is helping to break up traffic and information gridlock. Four cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have launched a regional system employing the Ericsson Connected Urban Transport ITS platform.
Wednesday Evening Private Briefing:
Ericsson Ventures (VC arm of Ericsson) is focused on driving innovation in areas that will accelerate Ericsson’s core business and generate strong financial performance. Intent is to combine start-up solution with Ericsson’s technologies. 6 to 7 deals per year with average investment of $1.5M. Ericsson likes to be part of a syndicate of VCs and corporate investors in the targeted start-up. They are start-up stage agnostic.
Areas for Ericsson Ventures investment include: IoT, analytics connected car, security, SDN, AR and VR, mobile advertising, wireless connectivity AI and ML.
Many new IoT applications will be enabled by 5G (so thinks everyone), including the connected car and real time control for IIoT. This author is not so sure. We think that high bandwidth and/or low latency might be needed for at most 5 to 10% of IoT applications.
Ericsson IoT accelerator platform: https://www.ericsson.com/en/internet-of-things/solutions/iot-platform
Ericsson Technology Review (our most technical papers): https://www.ericsson.com/en/ericsson-technology-review
Cellular IoT Use Cases: https://www.ericsson.com/en/networks/cases/cellular-iot
Ericsson white papers: https://www.ericsson.com/en/white-papers
- 5G radio access – capabilities and technologies
- Cellular networks for Massive IoT
Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator is a cloud-based horizontal offering composed of platform services and professional services, for service providers. It provides continuous incremental functionality offered as a Service to enable agile creation and deployment of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).
The telecom equipment and managed services provider is launching the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to help address the need for collaboration within the digital ecosystem community and benefit developers and service providers alike. It will be demonstrated this week at MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.
Key attributes of the IoT Accelerator are:
- Enabling massive adoption of Massive IoT is a stepping stone to making 5G a reality
- IoT Accelerator Marketplace boosts the potential for players in the Cellular IoT ecosystem to deliver value
- Easy on boarding of partners and customer applications for service providers advancing to enterprise IoT. Application developers and application partners can easily and efficiently join the ecosystem and scale their business in a cost-efficient way
For service providers, it is a catalog to find IoT apps from the global ecosystem to offer enterprise customers and provides shorter time to market for new offerings to their enterprise customers.
For application developers and application partners it is a window to an IoT ecosystem to connect with service providers through one single platform, exposing global cellular connectivity APIs. It also includes monetization and settlement capabilities to facilitate monetization and billing across the ecosystem.
Ericsson’s latest IoT solution covers all the 3GPP cellular technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE-M, NB-IOT and emerging 5G, an Ericsson representative confirmed to Fierce Wireless.
Carrie MacGillivray, Group Vice President, Internet of Things & Mobility at Market Intelligence firm IDC:
“Communications service providers are racing to scale and differentiate in the fast moving IoT market. It’s necessary for these service providers to have a robust developer ecosystem that helps them compete. For developers working across multiple service provider networks and platforms, the challenges of fragmentation are addressed by utilizing APIs that apply globally and are consistent across all mobile networks.”
Jeff Travers, Head of IoT, Ericsson:
“The launch of IoT Accelerator Marketplace will unlock the potential for different players in the value chain to deliver value. It is another stepping stone to make 5G a reality by enabling massive adoption of massive IoT. This supports service providers as they seek to expose network connectivity IoT APIs and monetize these assets.”
Application developers can benefit from a new go-to-market exposing their offering globally through Ericsson. This will enable app developers to scale their business and at the same time develop applications based on cellular connectivity APIs with added value for enterprises, such as fast and automated device and subscription onboarding, higher security, ubiquitous cellular coverage around the world improved for indoor utilization, and superior handling of battery life.
Service providers and application developers can request access to the IoT Accelerator Marketplace here: IoT Accelerator Marketplace.
Osvaldo Aldao, head of IoT solutions for Ericsson, talked to TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox about the new accelerator from his home base of Stockholm, Sweden.
The IOT Accelerator is our platform for acceleration of creation of applications and connection of devices to our service providers. And Ericsson have decided that 3GPP is an extremely competitive technology for IOT. If you think about how in the new tech standards of technology is evolving from narrow band IoT to all the way to 5G, I think what we want is to work with service providers to bring value to enterprises in removing some of the hurdles that we have seen in the market for IoT. And that’s why we have created this IoT Accelerator which is our IoT platform.
And as part of that platform we have now launched the IoT Marketplace and that is the place for being able to connect the application developers with device vendors, with service providers as well, and to enable the collaboration across these different players in the ecosystem.
How Ericsson is using the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to unlock the IOT ecosystem?
What we work on in this marketplace is to connect application developers and one of the things that we will demonstrate in Barcelona [at Mobile World Congress] is we have two levels of applications developers. We will help the application developers that will have access to certain capabilities connected to this mobile technology, and also we will work with them to develop applications, that those applications can become something that can be taken at some point and offered to enterprise. We have a partnership program in place as well for bringing those applications into the marketplace where in a global scale we will enable that service providers to have access to this kind of global pool of application developers. And the role that Ericsson is doing here is more in the kind of matchmaking between opportunities in local market with service providers and enterprise and how to support or how to deliver value into those opportunities with the ecosystem of application developers.
One of the things that it’s we think very passionate for doing this is the opportunity for being able to remove some of this fragmentation in the market and friction that we see. I think there is a lot of fragmentations around different type of access and service providers and I think what we are doing with this is to have a global ecosystems scale where we could work with those, build applications and build concrete solutions for IoT and then we bring those into somebody else or clients or service providers, but also with a purpose of bringing that kind of innovation closer from service provider to enterprises.
Is massive adoption of IoT a stepping stone toward making 5G a reality?
Correct. What we see is that there is a lot of concurrent opportunities here now with IoT and those are based on narrow band IoT as we could have a much better penetration coverage in indoor areas and also we could have a use case where we could have ten years of battery lifetime. That kind of technology will evolve. We are looking at that evolution as we speak now and so we have steps like Cat-M where we could have mobility and more data functionality. And also there’s a lot of work ongoing for bringing that technology to the next step, is what we see with the 5G.
And I think this activity we are doing here now with narrow band IoT and Cat-M is a extremely important starting point for service providers to build solutions and business in the IoT space, which is really closely connected to what we are doing in the 5G.
During the MWC we will open up the platform and then we will start to register application developers to be part of our developer community. This is something that we will support them for a number of months to build applications and then we will have a process for how we will move from this incubation into production.