5G migration: Easy as plug-and-play?

plug and play blog

copyright: Ericsson

Ericsson has just announced new “plug-ins” aimed at preparing today’s LTE networks for the migration necessary to support future 5G services.

The “5G Plug-Ins” are software-driven components that bring 5G technology concepts to today’s cellular networks. They were created as a result of the various 5G field trials and collaboration work Ericsson is undertaking with over 20 mobile operators. The 5G Plug-Ins are expected to be available for operator trials later this year and ready for commercial networks from 2017.

“5G will be driven by new use cases requiring higher performance – from connected cars with perfect driving records, to immersive augmented reality for remote surgery, to multi-K movies on mobile devices,” said Arun Bansal, SVP and Head of Business Unit Radio at Ericsson. “5G will unlock new consumer and industrial applications, and with our 5G field trial plans already well underway, we are now introducing Ericsson 5G Plug-Ins, which enable the evolutionary steps that operators need to take as they develop networks to secure their 5G future.”

The 5G Plug-Ins aim to achieve improved user experience, better network capacity and coverage, and reduced interference. Some examples from the portfolio include: a Multi-User MIMO Plug-In that transmits data to multiple user devices using the same time and frequency resources and coordinates beamforming; a RAN Virtualisation Plug-In that enables Virtual Network Functions (VNF) to be centralised on a common platform supporting both 4G and 5G; and an Intelligent Connectivity Plug-In that enables the network to anchor and intelligently route data based on application requirements and network resource availability, increasing the combined data throughput of 4G and 5G resources.

LTE is set to remain the dominant installed network infrastructure as we enter the next decade and Ericsson predicts there will be 4.3 billion LTE subscriptions by the end of 2021. With some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic crossing its networks, Ericsson wants to ensure telcos stick with the vendor through the evolution to 5G networks. The new plug-ins are are a sensible way to achieve this aim.

“Without spectrum allocations or ratified standards, operators need a migration tactic allowing them to leverage current network investments in sync with their 5G evolution strategies,” said Peter Jarich, VP Consumer and Infrastructure Services at Current Analysis. “Ericsson’s 5G Plug- Ins deliver this flexibility, supporting the deployment of advanced access technologies in the near-term, and in preparation for 5G.”

The original version of this article appeared in Telecom TV. 

Telecom TV delivers daily insight on the converging worlds of telecoms, media and entertainment. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of ITU.

One comment

  1. Interesting concept but a bit difficult to understand how one can have a plug in before a standard is decided. Agreed it is software driven. There are discussions that 5G could be multiple air interfaces.

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