Ericsson has revealed a set of five 5G Plug-Ins, which it claims will help mobile operators manage the growth on their networks now, while preparing for the future of 5G.
The software plug-ins aim to bridge the gap between 4G and 5G, bringing some of the key concepts behind 5G to current networks. Developed and tested in Ericsson’s 5G Radio Test Bed, they will be available for operator trials this year and commercial availability is slated for 2017.
Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson, says: “5G will be driven by new use cases requiring higher performance. 5G will unlock new consumer and industrial applications, and with our 5G field trial plans already well underway, we are now introducing Ericsson 5G Plug-Ins, which enable the evolutionary steps that operators need to take as they develop networks to secure their 5G future.”
The first set of Ericsson 5G Plug-Ins (which implies that more will be developed) comprises:
- Massive MIMO Plug-In: combines Massive MIMO with beamforming on advanced antennas, to improve the user experience as well as the capacity and coverage of the mobile network.
- Multi-User MIMO Plug-In: increases capacity by transmitting data to multiple user devices simultaneously, using the same time and frequency resources with coordinated beamforming, to deliver a better user experience, enhance network capacity and coverage, and reduce interference.
- RAN Virtualization Plug-In: centralises virtual network functions (VNF) on a common platform that supports 4G and 5G, to improve network efficiency and performance.
- Intelligent Connectivity Plug-In: enables the network to intelligently route data based on application requirements and the availability of network resource, thereby increasing the combined data throughput of 4G and 5G resources.
- Latency Reduction Plug-In: shortens access procedures and modifies the frame structure to enable instant network access and more frequent transmissions, thereby speeding up content deliver and enabling real-time communications.
Ericsson is already working with more than 20 operators globally on 5G networking and use cases, including some of the world’s largest operators. It has field trials underway in Japan, South Korea, the USA and Sweden, and Ericsson 5G Radio Prototypes achieved peak downlink throughput in excess of 25Gbit/s earlier this year.