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Ericsson introduces first 5G network platform

As the industry gears up for Mobile World Congress, Ericsson has announced a new platform designed to help networks evolve towards 5G mobile networking

Networking equipment and services supplier Ericsson has introduced a 5G mobile network platform, comprising a 5G core, radio and transport portfolio, along with digital support systems, transformation services and security, to help mobile network operators (MNOs) begin to evolve their networks towards 5G.

Ericsson predicted that the next generation of mobile networks would represent a $582bn market opportunity globally by the end of 2026, offering the potential for MNOs to add 34% growth in revenues. Corporate customers in the manufacturing, energy and utility sector will have the most potential for them.

“With this launch, we introduce our 5G platform to support the beginning of a huge change in network capabilities, allowing our customers to offer more advanced use cases and new business models to their customers,” said Arun Bansal, head of Ericsson’s network products business unit. “It is an important milestone enabling operators to continue their evolution journey to 5G.”

Ericsson’s 5G core system will be capable of 5G use cases based on network slicing, which allows an MNO to operate a dedicated virtual network with specific functionality over a common network.

Ericsson’s platform includes: federated network slices for 5G roaming, making it possible for operators to provide a global service; network slice management to automate service connections, secure service quality, reduce costs and come to market; 5G policy and user data to ensure service quality; distributed cloud to facilitate services that require short latency by moving applications and workloads closer to the device; and 5G transformation services to manage the migration to the future 5G core.

Working with operators Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom, Ericsson has already built and demonstrated an intercontinental 5G trial network making network slices available in the other operator’s footprint.

The core platform will also incorporate both network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) to ensure scalability, programmability and automation.

For access and transport, Ericsson has added mid- and high-band 5G new radios (NRs) supporting the new standardised 5G fronthaul interface, which means users can deploy networks globally more easily.

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To support new use cases that are likely to place huge demands on the network in terms of data delivery, Ericsson has also introduced an optimised transport solution, delivering speeds of 10Gbps.

To date, much of the progress towards 5G has come in the form of incremental improvements to existing 4G mobile technology, as was shown recently at a test event in Australia, where local operator Telstra successfully demonstrated gigabit long-term evolution (LTE), delivered download speeds in excess of 900Mbps in a live environment.

Ericsson was also involved in the Australian demo, and said it would continue to deliver more enhancements to existing 4G networks in this way along the road to 5G. However, it said its new platform complemented its current technology, and would also serve to increase the energy and spectrum efficiency of 4G networks.

Daniel Staub, head of joint mobile group at Swiss MNO Swisscom, said: “Ericsson’s new 5G portfolio opens up new opportunities. As we are taking our first steps towards 5G, Ericsson’s new wideband four-transceiver radio will help us produce even more speed on 4G. With this, Swisscom remains the technology leader.”

Ken Rehben, principle mobile infrastructure analyst at 451 Research, said: “By gaining access to a broad set of NR radio units, high-performance baseband processing capacity and a full set of transport options, operators get the ability to deploy substantial trial networks delivering key insight into 5G operational characteristics and opportunity. This is a vital step that builds operator trust and helps further overall industry progress towards 5G.”

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