Nokia performs Midsummer Site’s Dream

Nokia's mid-year RAN update included new small cells, baseband capabilities, M-MIMO units and backhaul products - with an added dash of AI. The company claimed it was all about future-proofing and monetising operator investments.

Nokia has announced a new range of cell site solutions including small cells, Massive MIMO radio units, backhaul microwave units and upgrades to its Airscale basedband during its Midsummer event held in Finland.

The launches were announced as Nokia said its focus was on providing performant and optimised solutions that future-proof operator cell site investments and underpin monetisation opportunities for operators.

Introducing the session, President of Mobile Networks Tommi Uitto said, “I’m confident when you invest in Nokia RAN today you are also actually investing in 6G.” Referencing a commitment to vertical and horizontal openness with its AnyRAN and Open RAN stategies, Uitto said Nokia was able to innovate fast along its product roadmap with a focus on energy efficiency and optimised performance.

“We know that our customers want to evolve their networks to cloud-based open solutions at their own pace – we design and develop our RAN solutions to enable consistently high performance across hybrid networks, providing feature consistency whether the implementation is purpose-built cloud-based or open.”

Uitto also said that Nokia’s “fast product development cycle” enables it to introduce new radio variants regularly in its Airscale and small cell portfolio, adding, “We’re continuously developing our air scale baseband solutions for higher capacity and Energy Efficiency.”

Small cells

The all-in-one indoor and outdoor small cells are named Kolibri – Finnish for hummingbird. (Ester Navarro, Product Marketing Leader, Mobile Networks, said that “just like hummingbirds, our all in one small cells are highly adapative to their environment and very efficient at conserving energy.”)

The range includes indoor, outdoor and a strand-mount CBRS small cell option. Charter Communications said it will be deploying the strand mount CBRS option, connected directly to its DOCSIS cable architecture, in “strategic locations across our footprint.”

Navarro said that demand for small cells continue to grow, and that Kolibri is a “perfect fit” to complement macro networks and to “fulfil the specific requirements of industrial and office environments.”

The release comes three years after Nokia’s launch of its indoor Smart Node, a femtocell designed for small office and residential type uses, and a year after it launches its Shikra range, which is a picocell remote radio that is connected to the Airscale baseband in a distributed architecture and designed for medium to larger builds. The Kolibri seems to sit somewhere between the two, being an all-in-one solution (like the Smart Node) but designed for larger and higher capacity environments.

The company also announced a scaled down version of its MantaRay network management software – MantaRay XS – designed for enterprise use.


Mark Atkinson, SVP, Mobile Networks announced “powerful new addtions” to the Airscale baseband line-up. These were the Tuuli 24 and Tuuli 26e products, which have been added to last year’s Tuuli 6 and Tuuli 12. There was also a new high capacity baseband – the AMOE – which includes three capacity cards and one control card.

Atkinson’s script described the 26e as “a versatile choice for simple site modernisation as it also supports 2G or 3G in addition to 4G and 5G. While some suppliers have stopped their 2G and 3G development and others never had it in the first place, Nokia remains committed to all technologies that enable customers to use spectrum in an optimum way.”

He added that by leveraging the latest generation Reef Shark platform, the basebands support twice as much cell capacity while reducing power consumption by up to 40%. They also enhance Uplink throughput by up to 30% – “a major differentiator to enable new mobile services.”

He also highlighted he built in Trusted Platform Module, which provides hardware- based security in Nokia’s commercial baseband products.

Habrok and Massive MIMO

Following last years launch of the Habrok famaily of Massive MIMO (M-MIMO) radios, the company now has a new addition, the Habrok 32. This is “energy optimised where less instantaneous or less operating bandwith is required” and initially supports 3.5GHz. Having solutions for both 64TRX and 32 TRX means customers can choose the best fit for their needs, Atkinson said.

Nokia has also been testing out new beamforming algorithms, to prove that upper 6 GHz band m-mimo radios could be deployed on the same grid as operators’ 3.5 GHz 5G rollouts.

Atkinson said the results are “really promising”.

“At 100 metre distance we were able to measure over 90% of the 3.5 GHz Uplink throughput on the 7 GHz band – and even at 1km we can still achieve approximately 75% of the 3.5 GHz Uplink throughput.  These results show clearly that the upper midband can bring massive new capacity effectively to large macro areas: this is good news for the industry.”


The company also anounced two backhaul products  in its Wavence range – a longer range microwave product operating in the 18 GHz band that would be suited for rural applications, and a compact urban E-Band product at 80 GHz that offers 10 Gbps capacity.

AI and services

Finally the company released AI-assisted platforms for operators’ field technicians. Nokia Digital AI Assitant has been trained on telecom specific technical digital documentation, also to understand images and retrieve information, enabling interactive conversations and enhanced trouble shooting guides for engineers. the company also introduced a new AR application called the Hazard Recognition Lens.