Fundamentally, the new RAN and core capabilities are designed to strengthen the ability of 5G standalone to create business opportunities through differentiated 5G connectivity that brings experience-focused 5G premium services to life.
According to the latest Ericsson ConsumerLab report, 20% of smartphone users are seeking differentiated 5G connectivity. These individuals value premium connectivity, and are willing to pay a premium of up to 11% for a 5G plan that ensures elevated network performance.
While the fast speeds, consistent low latency and greater bandwidth of 5G are key enablers of such experience-focused use cases, the tech provider cautioned that the growth of advanced and diverse use cases puts higher requirements on the network to deliver differentiated performance levels. It added that as more high-requirement use cases emerge, alternatives to the one-size-fits-all approach to wireless connectivity need to be considered.
To that end, the software toolkit is designed to enhance 5G connectivity experiences for use cases with greater demands on throughput, reliability and latency. Examples cited by Ericsson of these use cases are lag-free mobile cloud gaming, video conferencing, live broadcasting, remote-controlled machines and vehicles, public safety services, and future XR-enabled applications.
It supports a three-pronged approach to delivering a network platform that turns performance into loyalty, value and growth: ensuring superior performance for mobile broadband services; offering differentiated experiences for new and advanced consumer and enterprise use cases and, with these two building blocks, creating programmable network performance on-demand through network application programming interfaces.
In the toolkit, enhanced massive MIMO software algorithms have been created for channel-aware multi-user multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO) pairing and optimal beamforming selection based on user velocity. These are intended to boost capacity further in mid-band deployments with up to 10% incremental user throughput gain in high load, allowing for the smoother introduction of new services that require high reliability and low latency.
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RAN slicing advancements include intent-based automation for automated radio resource partitioning and rate and delay control scheduling to meet target delivery on a 1 ms basis. Service-level agreement (SLA) fulfilment is enabled by real-time automation.
Improved consistent low-latency capabilities of time-critical communication include uplink configured grant and L4S (low latency, low loss, scalable throughput) for superior quality of experience even during network congestion and under poor radio conditions – up to 90 ms latency improvement in high load scenario.
Data boost upsell and L4S support in 5G Core is intended to allow users to purchase a boost on top of their existing subscription through a notification to the device as well as new capabilities to enable and monetise L4S for selected subscription packages.
Commenting on what the tool could mean for the comms industry, Patrick Filkins, research manager for the internet of things and telecom network infrastructure at IDC said: “Ericsson is flexing its muscle to provide communications service providers with the tools they need to efficiently target – and drive – new premium services with differentiated 5G connectivity. The latest batch of RAN and core software features is a much-needed shot in the arm that will empower CSPs to turn 5G opportunities into reality through guaranteed service levels.”
Changsoon Choi, vice-president of network service differentiation and convergence at Deutsche Telekom, said: “Our innovation focus at Deutsche Telekom is on developing new differentiated services. Working with Ericsson and partners, we have demonstrated the quality of experience benefits of a consistent low latency and actively pushed the ecosystem in this area. We now welcome the launch of 5G slicing and L4S in Ericsson’s RAN software offering as we prepare the next steps to bring the benefits to our customers.”