Ericsson to launch 5G small cell for indoor mobile coverage

Ericsson 5G for telecoms Ericsson announced the launch of 5G Radio Dot, a small cell radio to improve indoor mobile broadband performance demanded by 5G networks.

Engineers can install the 5G Radio Dot in less than half the time compared to other indoor solutions.

The 5G Radio Dot will undergo trials in late 2018 and will be commercially available in 2019.

The company said 5G Radio Dot will support the new 5G mid-bands (3-6GHz) with speeds up to 2Gbps.

Telecom analysts say Ericsson takes an important initial step by adding indoor small cell 5G solutions to its already existing outdoor 5G RAN portfolio.

Ericsson never revealed the number of deployments of its existing Radio Dot solutions. It is believed that only select customers have commercially deployed the small cell solutions from Ericsson.

Ericsson claims that its Radio Dot System has been deployed for many indoor applications used in large areas such as office buildings, shopping malls, hospitals, and airports. Over time, the small cell solution will also support 5G industrial applications from connected factories to more extreme cases such as connected mining.

The launch is significant as mobile data traffic is forecast to grow 8x. 5G subscriptions are forecast to reach 1 billion in 2023. Ericsson said mobile operators must meet consumer and enterprise demand for applications such as 4K/8K video streaming, virtual reality/augmented reality, and immersive media.

“This puts out a strong call for indoor coverage, which cannot be easily addressed by outdoor radio deployments as modern building materials can block outdoor radio signals,” said Nishant Batra, head of Product Area Network Infrastructure at Ericsson.

Daryl Schoolar, practice leader at Ovum, said this new indoor solution from Ericsson is going to be attractive for operators wanting to offer enterprises good indoor performance for enhanced mobile broadband and new industrial applications that can’t be met by Wi-Fi or 5G base stations deployed outdoors.

Huang Yuhong, deputy head of China Mobile Research Institute, said that this innovative small cell solution further enhances China Mobile’s indoor solutions and will continue to play a key role in the 5G era.

Telecom operators will be able to deploy 5G Radio Dot next to 4G solutions using the same cabling infrastructure, same network architecture and dot locations. This innovative small cell solution provides a simple upgrade path for existing Radio Dot System deployments, adding 5G technology capabilities.