Ericsson has said that it will have a 5G compatible version of its Radio Dot System by 2019.
The company today “introduced” the 5G Radio Dot – a new line of its DAS-lite small cells. The new access points will be able to offer 2Gbps speeds, and will add band support across the 3-6GHz range that are targeted as a pioneer 5G band.
TMN had a quick Q&A with Ericsson’s Martin Ljungberg, Strategic product manager, Small Cells Solutions at Ericsson. With the Radio Dot system working as a distributed radio system, we were keen to know what needed to change in the system itself to support 5G, and also what that meant in terms of deployment.
TMN: What makes this [upcoming] version of the Radio Dot qualify as 5G? The release mentions new band support (3-6GHz) – are there other capabilities added that classify the Dot itself as 5G? As Dots are fed by a baseband – are most of the 5G capabilities in fact due to the upgraded baseband?
Up to now, challenges with a good indoor 5G coverage have not been discussed widely
Ljungberg: It is true that the full 5G radio functionality is offered by the full base station including both Radio and Baseband. This 5G Radio Dot will be sold as an integrated part of Ericsson Radio System with its baseband and software. As such, it offers 5G advantages like capacity, high data rates and low latency.
Up to now, challenges with a good indoor 5G coverage have not been discussed widely. Therefore we are focusing particularly on the 5G radio for indoor, where we are introducing a supporting product.
TMN: The release mentions deploying a 5G dot next to a 4G dot. Here’s the quote: “As a natural evolution of the Ericsson Radio Dot System, operators will be able to deploy 5G Radio Dot next to 4G solutions using the same cabling infrastructure, same network architecture and dot locations.”
Would existing cable infrastructure support a 4G deployment also support 5G Dots at the same time – even with 5G’s increased channel bandwidths? Do you see a multimode Dot in the near future, combining 4G/5G?
Initially a dedicated cable is needed for the 5G Dot
Ljungberg: Initially a dedicated cable is needed for the 5G Dot. Anyone wanting to prepare a 4G installation for 5G should pull an extra cable to the Dot location. We are planning for a combined 4G and 5G Dot and they will be introduced based on market demand.
TMN : When is the expected actual release date (GA) for the 5G Dot?
Ljungberg: In line with general introduction of the 5G technology in the market in 2019.
This sort of gap between launch announcement and actual availability mirrors the original launch of the Radio Dot, which saw a 14 month gap between introduction and availability.