Ericsson boosts indoor 5G capacity, precise location services

Comms tech provider introduces suite of indoor hardware and software to make indoor 5G easier for enterprises with precise-location software that enables enterprise use cases such as asset tracking and tool positioning

Ericsson has expanded its indoor mobile connectivity portfolio with three offerings aimed at delivering 5G coverage, capacity and capabilities across the interior of any work or business environment.

According to the latest Ericsson mobility report, about 80% of mobile data is generated through indoor use, and the company regards high-performing indoor mobile connectivity as having become a critical digital infrastructure. However, it added that relatively minimal floor space in buildings – estimated by Ericsson at 10-15% – is currently served by indoor 5G connectivity.

Moreover, the tech firm said businesses spanning all sectors and sizes, whether airports, office complexes, hotels, and industrial settings such as factories, mines and ports, require reliable connectivity that improves their operations and customers’ experience.

Further outlining the task at hand, Ericsson observed that the current fragmented in-building market primarily consists of technologies such as Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and small cells. As a result, it said, the indoor technology decision-making process is often difficult and time-consuming.

The new Ericsson offerings – comprising two new hardware products and software services – are designed for indoor locations regardless of the size or complexity of the building, and form part of the company’s Radio Dot System portfolio. They are aimed at meeting customers’ simplicity and monetisation goals through a scalable offering suitable for any indoor environment or situation.

The IRU 8850 indoor radio unit is designed for medium-to-large venue coverage. Said to offer simple and speedy deployment, it delivers up to four times the capacity of its predecessors, enhancing network performance and user experience. It is also claimed to be up to 70% more energy-efficient compared with active DAS technology.

The second indoor 5G portfolio addition – aimed at small- to medium-sized building coverage in places such as coffee shops, chain stores, branch offices, movie theatres and restaurants – is the Ericsson Indoor Fusion Unit, an all-in-one indoor 5G offering that combines radio and baseband functionalities into one unit. It is said to offer up to 50% lower total cost of ownership thanks to network sharing.

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The new Ericsson software, Ericsson 5G Precise Positioning, is built to provide location services for a wide range of use cases that enterprises can deploy, such as asset tracking and tool positioning, in environments such as factories, mines, hospitals, warehouses and other industrial private network applications, as well as in emergency response scenarios.

“The new Radio Dot System equipment and location services software further increase the flexibility of Ericsson’s indoor portfolio,” said David Hammarwall, head of product area networks at Ericsson.

“Scalable and cost-efficient, the expanded portfolio offers a one-stop-shop to accelerate indoor 5G roll-outs globally, spreading the benefits of premium indoor connectivity. It will also enable a variety of use cases for service providers and enterprises that will boost operational efficiency, safety and user experience.”

“The in-building wireless market is so diverse that products have remained extremely fragmented for years,” said Joe Madden, founder and chief analyst of Mobile Experts.

“Ericsson has pulled together a line-up of products that are more flexible and adaptable, to handle wide variations in the application. This approach can drive economy of scale, with common parts serving large and small buildings, with high capacity, low capacity or multi-operator applications. This kind of digital backbone will enable deployment to scale up for larger numbers of buildings.”

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