The next big generation of mobile networking, known as 5G, is not expected to be commercially available until 2020, but Ericsson already has indoor and outdoor 5G test networks in Sweden and the US. Ericsson’s latest 5G technology breakthrough provides a way to deliver drop-free, higher capacity mobile connections for both people and things – while making the most of available spectrum.
Mischa Dohler, Chair Professor of Wireless Communications and Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research (CTR), King’s College London, says: “High-speed, highly reliable mobile networks are foundational to the tactile internet and the internet of skills that it will enable. The results that are being achieved in Ericsson’s live 5G test networks — much faster data rates, more resilient connections and squeezing capacity out of spectrum – are all critical to unleashing the new use cases that will drive 5G.”
Ericsson’s latest 5G innovation sounds deceptively simple: The 5G mobile device connects to more than one 5G cell site at the same time. This is known as 5G multipoint connectivity. It provides the resiliency to ensure that the 5G device maintains a high-quality connection with the 5G network as it moves between cells. It also enables the transmission of different sets of multiple data signals (Multiple Input Multiple Output, or MIMO, streams) to the mobile device over the same frequency band. This is called distributed MIMO, and it can increase downlink throughput by 100%. And, because it is all transmitted in the same frequency band, it makes very efficient use of available spectrum. The combined technical capability is called Multipoint Connectivity with Distributed MIMO.
Dr. Håkan Andersson, 5G Strategic Product Manager, Business Unit Radio, Ericsson, says: “To be ready for commercial networks in 2020, 5G research and development has to come out of the labs and into live test networks. Multipoint Connectivity with Distributed MIMO, supported on Ericsson’s 5G air interface, is just the latest example of 5G innovation moving into live test network implementation.”
Multipoint Connectivity with Distributed MIMO involves very sophisticated signaling methods, which are not part of today’s LTE standards, to control the mobile device’s interaction with the network. So, while LTE technology is evolving to become an integral part of tomorrow’s 5G networks, 5G will also include innovative new air interfaces (including signaling, modulation schemes and other software-driven innovations) between the device and the network. Ericsson’s 5G air interface, dubbed “NX”, powers Multipoint Connectivity with Distributed MIMO.
5G will evolve the entire communication eco-system, from devices to mobile access, IP core and into the cloud. Ericsson’s latest 5G test network innovations focus on the interactions between mobile devices and the radio access network, indoors and outside.
Ericsson’s 5G test networks, including both 5G devices and 5G radio base stations, are running live at the company’s US and worldwide headquarters in Plano and Stockholm. The company welcomes mobile operators, eco-system partners, members of academia, tech media and analysts to visit these sites to witness and interact with Ericsson 5G innovations.
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