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Ericsson accelerates 5G mid-band roll-outs with mMIMO, RAN Compute lines

Swedish comms tech provider expands MIMO portfolio and radio access network solutions to enhance network performance with what it claims is optimised energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint with new mid-band products, including 20kg flagship 64T Massive radio product

Just days after an industry report published by ABI Research indicated that massive multiple-input and multiple-output (mMIMO) technology stood poised to be the catalyst to fuel mobile infrastructure supplier revenue in the foreseeable future, Ericsson has added three radios to its mMIMO portfolio and six to its RAN Compute portfolio to accelerate 5G mid-band roll-outs.

Looking at the potential opportunity in the sector, Ericsson said that following on from the first 5G network roll-outs, it was now time to scale up 5G by deploying mMIMO to a much larger extent.

With new mid-band spectrum available, it said communications service providers would have the power to provide a full-fledged 5G experience for consumers and enterprises. It added that in 5G networks that harness mid-band spectrum at scale, operators could now use their 5G spectral assets to roll out services quickly and efficiently to deliver a more responsive experience to mobile broadband subscribers as mid-band bridges the speed, capacity and coverage gaps between low-band and high-band spectrum.

Ericsson’s new line of mid-band massive MIMO 5G radios from its antenna-integrated radio (AIR) portfolio is designed to ease mid-band deployment for service providers. This is said to enable a full-fledged 5G user experience for subscribers, while reducing site footprint and increasing capacity by more than three times.

Weighing 20kg, the latest radios are up to 45% lighter than the previous generation and 20% more energy-efficient, featuring passive cooling to minimise maintenance site visits. The radios can be deployed from urban high-rise buildings to suburban and rural capacity areas for use cases such as fixed wireless access (FWA), automotive, transport and logistics.

Ericsson has also expanded its RAN Compute portfolio with six new products. These include both indoor and outdoor options for 4G expansions and mid-band 5G roll-outs, claiming up to 50% higher throughput and 15-20% lower energy consumption.

Assessing what Ericsson could be helping bring about for operators, Ed Gubbins, principal analyst at GlobalData, said the portfolio launch came at an opportune moment, as carriers turned their attention to capitalising on mid-band 5G spectrum.

“Ericsson’s massive MIMO radios are an industry standout in terms of compact form factors and lightweight designs, which should help operators overcome deployment challenges,” he said. “In addition, the stability and strength of Ericsson’s custom silicon strategy also sets them apart.”

The new mMIMO and RAN Compute portfolios are powered by Ericsson Silicon with an architecture design that provides the massive MIMO radios with real-time channel estimation and beamforming, which Ericsson said resulted in no less than “industry-leading” coverage and user experience. Additional security has been embedded into the co-design of the silicon and the architecture of the launched hardware, ensuring that software and sensitive data are protected.

The financial stakes for leadership in the market are high. ABI’s Indoor, outdoor and IoT network infrastructure market data report calculated that the installed-base mMIMO market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.8% between 2020 and 2026 to reach US$58.2bn (£41.5bn) by 2026. By adding 5G densification revenues to those from mMIMO, ABI said the total would reach US$97.3bn by 2026, accounting for approximately 73% of the outdoor revenue.

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