Ericsson claims sustainability gains with tri-sector 5G radio

Swedish comms tech provider makes further inroads into more sustainable networks with the introduction of a new triple-band, tri-sector radio that is said to be able to do the job of nine radios

At the beginning of 2022, Ericsson unveiled a radio access network (RAN) portfolio with systems designed to address the global acceleration in 5G roll-out and the sustainability goals of communications service providers. In the latest part of this strategy, the comms tech provider has launched a radio product designed to address the ever-growing need of communications service providers (CSPs) for more sustainable offerings.

The Radio 6646’s low-band spectrum capabilities are said to be able to significantly boost both 5G coverage and mid-band (3.5GHz) performance in an energy-efficient way, extending the multiband capabilities of Ericsson tri-sector products by combining 900, 800 and 700MHz frequency bands into one compact 2G to 5G-capable radio.

This is said to be able to produce a 40% reduction in energy usage compared with single-sector products, translating to yearly savings per site comparable to charging an electric car 40 times.

In addition, Ericsson noted that the 60% reduction in weight of the new triple-band, tri-sector radio will further help CSPs to minimise deployment costs and reduce their carbon footprint. One Radio 6646 can do the job of nine single-band radios.

Radio 6646 is also designed to increase the wide-area reach, outside-in coverage from rooftops and towers to indoor locations such as offices, basements, stores and homes. It will also increase the capacity of 5G networks, especially when combined with mid-band TDD over Carrier Aggregation and 5G Standalone (5G SA).

The new radio also supports the 700MHz band, which is expected to be one of the key spectrums for 5G SA deployments, where low bands extend the performance and reach of mid-band TDD.

With three low bands combined, Radio 6646 will enhance both outdoor and indoor coverage for all mobile generations – 2G to 5G – as well as the internet of things. The frequencies are widely supported by devices and, according to Ericsson, will provide “immense” potential to increase growth of 5G services.

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Radio 6646 follows the 2021 launch of the dual-band, tri-sector Radio 6626, which is commercially available across global markets. Ericsson also unveiled earlier this year seven new 5G RAN services that deliver sizeable energy savings and up to tenfold capacity increases – with minimal or no added footprint.

“Our new energy-efficient radio uniquely combines spectrum capabilities in an easy-to-install form factor,” said David Hammarwall, head of product area networks at Ericsson.

“This will simplify deployments and extend 5G coverage, starting in Europe. With this latest innovation, service providers can scale up 5G Standalone deployments with new applications for consumers, enterprises and mission-critical communications.”

Vicente Abad, RAN technology and support manager at Telefónica Spain, added: “Ericsson’s new Radio 6646 will offer a highly compact and flexible solution to expand 5G coverage in a very cost-efficient manner while being economical and sustainable. The footprint and energy consumption achieved are something we believe will be a powerful driver for 5G, and we look forward to the first deployments in Spain.”

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