New Ericsson AIR Solutions Accelerate 5G Mid-Band Deployment

Ericsson has enhanced their 5G platform with the addition of two new Antenna-Integrated Radio (AIR) solutions, Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR, to their Radio System portfolio. These new solutions will allow communications service providers to deploy mid-band 5G networks faster and on a wider scale without adding to their site footprint.

Ericsson has recognized that physical space restrictions at some base station sites are a challenge for communications service providers wishing to extend their footprint to include 5G. The new AIR solutions directly address this issue to enable communications service providers to manage the growing complexity of macro sites and towers while reducing site footprint and optimization costs.

With this solution, no extra physical space is needed at existing sites. When deployed with Massive MIMO, communications service providers can deploy mid-band 5G with the new solutions faster and on a larger scale.

Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks Ericsson, stated that at some network sites, size literally is everything. Communications service providers globally often have limited possibilities to increase the space occupied by network equipment. They need solutions that fit in existing sites and still provide great performance. With the Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR solutions, Ericsson can help their customers to quickly deliver the benefits of 5G Massive MIMO to more end users. This launch also shows the effectiveness of fully integrated Kathrein Mobile Communication products in the Ericsson Radio System.

With Kathrein Mobile Communication antenna technology, Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR can introduce 5G mid-band to existing sites by combining antenna-integrated radios and multiband passive antenna technology in one enclosure.

A simulated calculation by Ericsson experts showed that the upgrade to Hybrid AIR or Interleaved AIR with Massive MIMO can result in up to seven times greater mobile broadband capacity than currently available from existing multiband antennas. The capacity gains come from improved Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) spectral efficiencies, new FDD bands and added Massive MIMO mid-bands. The new AIR solutions also boost 4G capacity. 

Swisscom and the Vodafone Group are two longstanding Ericsson partners who have worked with the company on the solutions.

Swisscom has rolled out 5G technology across Switzerland as the first provider in Europe. They reached 90 per cent population coverage at the end of 2019. Close collaboration with Ericsson and deploying the Hybrid AIR helped them to reach their goal. They are now delivering wide mid-band capacity, while reusing established sites and minimizing additional footprint.

Ericsson and Vodafone have jointly designed the Interleaved AIR antenna platform, a key enabler for mid band 5G roll-outs as it supports legacy bands plus the new 5G active antennas. This compact product saves space and simplifies the infrastructure needed at mobile sites, reducing total cost of ownership.