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Ericsson launches 5G AIR range to address space restrictions at macro sites

Ericsson Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR.
(Image credit: Ericsson)

Space is at a premium when it comes to adding radio equipment to macro sites, and Ericsson is hoping to address this issue with two new products - the Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR - which are the latest additions to Ericsson’s Radio System portfolio.

These new antennas combine radios and passive and active antenna elements into one weather-proof enclosure, which the company says will result in “lowering site costs and complexity while boosting performance and deployment”. 

"At some network sites, size literally is everything. Communications service providers globally often have limited possibilities to increase the space occupied by network equipment."

Per Narvinger, Ericsson.

“It’s a footprint issue,” explained Per Narvinger, head of product area networks at Ericsson. “At some network sites, size literally is everything. Communications service providers globally often have limited possibilities to increase the space occupied by network equipment. They need solutions that fit in existing sites and still provide great performance. With the Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR solutions, we can help our customers to quickly deliver the benefits of 5G Massive MIMO to more end users. This launch also shows the effectiveness of fully integrated Kathrein Mobile Communication products in our Ericsson Radio System.”

Integrating Kathrein technology

The new products include antenna technology developed by Kathrein Mobile Communication - a company that Ericsson purchased for an undisclosed amount at the end of 2019 - and have been developed in partnership with Swisscom and the Vodafone Group.

"We are now delivering wide mid-band capacity, while reusing established sites and minimizing additional footprint."

Daniel Staub, Swisscom.

“At Swisscom, we have rolled out 5G technology nationwide as the first provider in Europe,” said Daniel Staub, head of mobile at Swisscom. “We reached 90 per cent population coverage at the end of 2019 already. Close collaboration with Ericsson and deploying the Hybrid AIR helped us to reach that goal. We are now delivering wide mid-band capacity, while reusing established sites and minimizing additional footprint. We continue to work and innovate to bring the best end-user experience to our 5G subscribers.”

According to calculations carried out by Ericsson engineers, the upgrade to Hybrid AIR or Interleaved AIR with Massive MIMO can result in “up to seven times greater mobile broadband capacity than currently available from existing multiband antennas”. The capacity gains come from improved Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) spectral efficiencies, new FDD bands and added Massive MIMO mid-bands. Additionally, the new AIR solutions also boost 4G capacity.

“Ericsson and Vodafone have jointly designed the Interleaved AIR antenna platform, a key enabler for mid band 5G roll-outs as it supports legacy bands plus the new 5G active antennas,” said Francisco Martin, head of radio products at Vodafone Group. “This compact product saves space and simplifies the infrastructure needed at mobile sites, reducing total cost of ownership.”

CSPs can find out more information about the Hybrid AIR and Interleaved AIR here

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.