Just about every major telecommunications equipment provider is gearing up to launch products that are 5G network friendly, allowing network providers to begin work on the new networks. 5G networking, of course, requires a good amount of new technological advances to be incorporated into network equipment, such multi-user MIMO, compatibility with ultra-high band spectrum, and beamforming. All those technologies and then some can be found in new equipment announced by Ericsson on Wednesday. The telecom giant has been working with a number of providers, such as Verizon, to bring 5G testing to new heights and test out their own equipment, and now it seems that all of that time behind the curtain ironing things out is coming to fruition.
Ericsson's foray into the commercial 5G market comes in the form of the AIR 6468 radio. This radio supports all of the bells and whistles of a 5G network, but can also be used to connect a 4G LTE network, if carriers so desire. The radio goes hand in hand with a number of new features for their hardware that Ericsson announced in June pointing toward 5G networking in the near future, along with the fairly recent Radio System Baseband 5216, now ready for commercial deployment. While most operators are not quite ready to begin rolling out 5G just yet, the new radio, set to be released in 2017, packs a powerful suite of features for 4G LTE networking. These features, according to Arun Bansal, Ericsson's head of network products, will eventually be iterated upon and evolved to become the features that define 5G and move it forward.
Along with the groundbreaking announcement that they would be the first out the gate with 5G radios being commercially available, Ericsson announced a bevy of new radio devices. The Radio 2205 is aimed squarely at small cell network providers, while Radio 4407 and 4412 are built around new technologies and dual-mode LTE. The Radio 8808 unit rounds out the collection of new radios, but Baseband 6502 and macro Baseband 6303, centered on network densification, were also announced, along with the Baseband P614, which boasts the ability to activate multiple bands at once and fight interference in dense networks. The main attraction of the day's announcements, the Air 6468, will be launching in 2017, though a more precise time frame has yet to be announced.