According to Michael Gronovius, Customer Solutions Sale Director at Ericsson, the company’s decision to align its radio solutions with its fronthaul, backhaul, midhaul, microwave and router solutions is what sets Ericsson’s approach to a network transport apart. Ericsson transport is built by radio for radio to get superior performance.
Gronovius told to RCR Wireless News at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles that with 5G, comes new spectrum, as well as new network architectures and interfaces, which will have a serious impact on the mobile transport network.
For routers, more spectrum means basebands need more capacity. Cell site routers for 4G will likely choke off the baseband due to limited port capacity, which will impact 5G capacity and performance. And when it comes to network architectures, 5G will introduce new, enhanced CPRI protocols. “Which means,” he explained, “that the cell site routers have to be able to deal with different types of traffic and assign different types of service requirements to those different traffics.”
Gronovius also offered, “Network slicing is not just slicing in the RAN and the packet core, but you have to extend that slicing into the packet network, or in other words, into the transport network.”
Ericsson’s Customer Solutions Sales Manager Charles Ribordy highlighted an additional challenge of 5G, saying, “5G actually places additional demands for fiber connectivity based on mid-band massive MIMO radios, as well as mmWave high-band radios,” Ribordy provided.
Another challenge is concealment requirements for pole and street level deployments. Ericsson solutions are integrated into the RAN, leveraging the same concealment, mounting hardware and enclosures as the radios.
Ribordy also discussed the difference between Ericsson’s passive and active optical fronthaul solutions, explaining that passive solutions are best for small cell and street level deployments, where operators typically want something small, concealable affordable.
The active solutions are ideal for customers that are relocating basebands from the bottom of the tower to baseband hotels. Active Fronthaul enables this change without the need to climb the tower.
And when fiber isn’t cutting it, either because of cost or lack of availability, Ericsson’s Alex Heredia, Customer Solutions Sales Director, revealed that microwave is a great option.
“Microwave is a viable solution for 5G deployments,” Heredia stated. “Today, we have operators who are connecting 5G radios with microwave to the network. While fiber is often the preferred choice, it is not always available at the right price and the right time, so microwave becomes a complementary solution.” The Ericsson MINI-LINK portfolio offers solutions for urban, suburban and rural areas, as well as solutions for temporary deployments like disaster recovery and events.
A unique solution that Heredia described is the Multi-band booster, which combines frequencies in different bands to increase capacity. E-band radios are another solution for 5G, delivering 10 and 20 Gbps of capacity in both fronthaul and backhaul configurations.
Ericsson is emphasizing its mobile transport division because it believes that transport is critical to future cellular networks. “The performance of 5G is directly impacted by transport,” Gronovius stated. Operators need routing, microwave and optical solutions purpose built to support the demands of 5G RAN from deployment to integration to operation with highest performance.
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