Ericsson to demo Open RAN integration at MWC as it launches seven new radios

Vendor says it won't flag every third party RU integration but it is no worse off than others, and will have some on demo at MWC.

Ericsson is not “worse off” than other vendors in integrating with third party RU vendors, and will have some demos at MWC to show that, the company has told TMN.

As Ericsson launched seven new radios at its pre-MWC briefing (see below), its EVP and Head of Networks Fredrik Jejdling told the audience that all of its new radios are “hardware ready” to support Open RAN fronthaul interfaces.

Jejdling said, “We’re not much for flagging individual radio integrations. It’s more about driving a structured industrialised way, in partnership with our customers, based on what they want to see for the three to five year period.”

“The challenge is to industrialise it to a point that we’re secure that it works across multiple vendors in a multi vendor environment with a common software layer and to avoid spending unnecessary efforts in a post deployment scenario. That is what we’re focusing on.”

I would say so far we have done more than we say. I think we will demo some of it during MWC.

So if Ericsson is not much for flagging individual integrations, does that mean it has been carrying out integration of its radios with other basebands, or other radios with its baseband, but that it doesn’t like to talk about it? Or is this a way of saying that Ericsson hasn’t really started on this work yet?

Johan Hultell, Global Head of Product Line Radio, told TMN, “I would say that we have done it to a reasonable extent. We are not worse off than any of the other vendors but we have chosen a strategy where we don’t communicate about it.”

“Fredrik’s point is that one approach is to mention each and every integration that you have done. That’s not the path that we have taken. The difficult thing is to make something that can scale broadly. That is where we are putting effort. I would say so far we have done more than we say.”

“I think we will demo some of it during MWC. But we work with several different RU vendors as well.”

As for being “hardware ready”, that phrasing refers to the RUs being built with Ericsson’s latest generation Asic, and in the case of Massive MIMO models, being equipped with the capacity to support the equaliser on the RU.

Hultell said, “Hardware-ready means that we can and will, over time, migrate to Open RAN interfaces. The remote radios rely on Cat A. For the massive MIMO radios, one of the keys for us is to have one interface that offers good performance, so there we are using Cat B, class A. [this is the Uplink Performance Improvement [ULPI] architecture that Ericsson argued for within O-RAN standards.]

So how will that migration take place?

“The new radios coming on-line are hardware ready and so are a million of the installed base. It’s a software update, and it’s something we are currently working on. It’s a big part of the AT&T deal, where we are saying that they will deploy radios with our latest generation Asic across the board. But we are working on it. It will come over time.”

Ericsson’s new radios

The new radios Ericsson launched at the event include its “flagship” AIR 3255, which is a 32T32R product that reduces energy consumption over the previous generation by 25%. Hultell said that has been achieved by combingin three things. First, the latest Asic that integrates more components and also is as scaleable as possible. Second, more efficient Power Amplifiers that reduce the need for active cooling and enable Ericsson to build compact, passively cooled radios. And thirdly and new low loss filters. Added to all of these is the software that Ericsson uses to enable the radios to adapt as quickly as possible to the traffic profile.

Reduction in energy demand has been the main customer concern, Hultell said, leading Ericsson to develop new capabilities both in digital and analogue technologies, and also in software.

For the Power Ampfliers, Ericsson’s path is to co-develop with partners, as it is for the Asic, where it has “multiple partners”, Hultell said, Intel being one of them.

The estimated PRA (product ready for acceptance) dates for the new radios , backhaul E-Band radio and antenna are:               

  • AIR 3255 Flagship: Q4 2024
  • AIR 3284 1H 2025 (targeting Q1 2025)
  • Radio 4823: Q3 2024
  • AIR 5343: Q1 2024
  • Radio 4461HP: Q4 2024
  • Radio 8873HP: Q4 2024
  • Radio 8873: Q1 2025
  • MINI-LINK 6355 will have GA in end of Q1 2025
  • Antenna 4206 2L 4M 2.1m planned GA is Q4/2024

Ericsson also announced three new software features.

  • Uplink Multi-user-MIMO on eCPRI-based FDD M-MIMO is planned for Q2/2024
  • Uplink-aware Advanced Multi-Layer Coordination is planned for 2025
  • Automated Energy Saver is planned for Q4/2024 to support the first drop of Massive MIMO Sleep and then later the Booster Carrier Sleep feature.

You can see more about these products here.