Ericsson reveals 5G version of its Radio Dot small cell

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Ericsson has introducing a 5G version of its Radio Dot small cell radio that’s designed to help operators provide crucial indoor coverage for their 5G rollouts.

Indoor coverage is a perennial problem for cellcos operating in higher frequency bands because outdoor cells at those frequencies have trouble penetrating modern building materials. 5G in particular faces indoor coverage challenges as initial deployments will operate primarily on upper frequency bands from 3.5 GHz up to 28 GHz and higher.

The new 5G Radio Dot will support the new 5G mid-bands (3-6GHz) with speeds up to 2 Gbps. Ericsson says the new Dot, like previous generations, takes less than half the time to install compared to other indoor solutions. For operators who have already deployed Radio Dots for 4G indoor coverage – such as China Mobile and China Unicom, who Ericsson has publicly revealed as Radio Dot customers –  they’ll be able to use the same cabling infrastructure, network architecture and locations and run the 5G Dots alongside the 4G versions.

“The Ericsson Radio Dot System is already widely deployed in our 4G networks,” said Huang Yuhong, Deputy Head of China Mobile Research Institute. “As an innovative small cell solution, it further enhances our indoor solutions and will continue to play a key role in the 5G era.”

“Now that first 5G standards are here, vendors are going to need multiple radio solutions to help operators roll out their new 5G networks,” said Daryl Schoolar, practice leader at Ovum. “Ericsson takes an important initial step in this direction by adding indoor small cell 5G solutions to its already existing outdoor 5G RAN portfolio. This new indoor solution from Ericsson is going to be attractive for operators wanting to offer enterprises good indoor performance for enhanced mobile broadband and new industrial applications that can’t be met by Wi-Fi or 5G base stations deployed outdoors.”

However, they’ll have to wait – Ericsson says the 5G Radio Dot will undergo trials in late 2018 and will be commercially available in 2019.

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