Ericsson claims it is ‘5G-ready’ with newly expanded network platform

The global firm unveiled several enhancements to its 5G platform this week, with ease of deployment and increased flexibility the key factors

Credit: Martyn Williams

Global networking and hardware services supplier, Ericsson announced that it will be expanding its 5G platform, as it looks to support service providers evolving their networks.

The Sweden-based firm announced a number of advancements across core platform, radio access and service orchestration this week, all aimed at widening its existing 5G platform to span a new set of use cases.

“Ericsson is ready for 5G. We are already out with our lead customers, and we have been part of every single commercial launch in the last six to nine months,” Arun Bansal, Ericsson’s president and head of EMEA said at a press event in London this week.

The firm took the opportunity to unveil its dual-mode 5G cloud core solution, which supports both standalone and non-standalone - meaning they are underpinned by existing 4G networks - 5G deployments. Crucially, it is a cloud-native platform, offering automated features to enable the management of multiple networks.

According to Ericsson, until 5G-enabled devices come to market, operators will need to support a mix of different device types across the network for some years. This means a network that smoothly supports 4G and 5G.

“With the new use cases emerging in 5G, there will be a need to ensure that 5G applications get the quality of service that they need,” Erwin Van Rijssen, head of 5G core program added.

The dual-mode solution also gives service providers the ability to migrate to 5G quickly and easily.

“What we see is that software providers want to launch much more quickly than their competitors. So they were launching maybe once or twice a year previously, but what we’re seeing now is that software providers want to do this much more frequently, like once or twice a month,” Rijessen said.

“This is effective because software that gets updated more frequently gives customers access more quickly.”

Dynamic orchestration                                             

Ericsson is also working on its dynamic network orchestration solution, with AI and automation added to enable providers to simplify their operations.

The firm recently closed the acquisition of service assurance technology company, CENX, which offers closed-loop automation and service assurance capabilities, which have since been built into the Ericsson solution, specifically for hybrid networks that are positioned in multi-vendor environments. This also includes orchestration for service providers using network slicing.

“It provides services and functionality with embedded AI software, and with that operators can actually monitor the network and automatically optimise,” Rijessen said

“So when an operator is introducing these network slices they can manage and monitor the quality of the slices, and then in order to live up to the service level agreements that they have in place they can automatically do the connections to the network later.”

Radio access

As the race to 5G adoption hurries on, Ericsson recognises that service providers will need to increase capacity and revenue while lowering costs.

To address this, the firm will launch nine new dual-band, triple band and high-performance Massive MIMO radios, with virtualised software, to help providers manage data for multiple users, increase the speed of street-wide and urban area 5G adoption and provide enhanced flexibility.

This will mean that service providers are able to deliver an architecture that includes intelligent data processing in any location.

Ericsson is also introducing an enhanced microwave transport portfolio and a new product family of 5G-ready long haul solutions to support up to 10Gbps capacities.

It will ensure that service providers can access 5G-ready transport infrastructure in urban and rural areas around the world, with high-capacity 4G to 5G connectivity.

“As we see that networks are virtualising, we have a common development in RAN [radio access network] and we have multiple services in order to help the operator leverage 5G and evolve their network into a 5G network,” he added.

Use cases

Already, Ericsson has a growing portfolio of customers and partnerships around the world to add to the growth of commercial 5G networks in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The company confirms it has 10 commercial investment partnerships with operators around the world, such as Vodafone UK, Swisscom and Telenor in Scandinavia.

“All the portfolio we have been delivering since 2015 is software upgradeable, one of the biggest calls for any software operator is to send a genius to the site to do hardware changes and all, while with Ericsson, whatever equipment they have on can be upgraded to 5G by software, and that’s a huge cost advantage for our customers,” Bansal told us.

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