Ericsson aims for small cell mid-market with

Ericsson has announced it is launching a new category of indoor and in-building coverage element for mid-market in-building coverage and capacity.

The element, that it is naming the Radio Dot, is an antenna that looks a bit like a smoke alarm and is connected to connected and powered via LAN cables to indoor radio units that link to a base station.

Conceptually, the Radio Dot System seems to sit somewhere between a femtocell and a full blown DAS. As a remote antenna sitting connected to a “home” base station, it’s like a very scaled down version of the Cloud RAN integrated antenna architecture that vendors are developing for dense urban environments. The antenna also supports “traffic steering” capabilities that will enable it to be integrated with both macro deployments and carrier Wifi elements, Ericsson said.

Indeed, Ericsson’s marketing is positioning Radio Dot as an answer to a gap in the market between very small cell solutions, and large DAS deployments. An infographic from the company claims, “Currently there is no mainstream technology that offers a complete and optimised solution” to this market segment.

Perhaps a closer companion to Radio Dot might be SpiderCloud’s E-RAN system, which also deploys remote radio nodes that are powered off the LAN, although in this instance SpiderCloud adds a local controller node that interfaces directly to the operator’s core network and is also intended to act as a services node. The E-RAN is also targeted not just at mid-range deployments, but at large campus style deployments as well.

More details will be available later today.