Ericsson has unveiled a new small cells radio system that aims to solve the challenges mobile operators face with in-building coverage.
The vendor’s Radio Dot System is small enough to fit into a person’s hand, weighs 300 grams and features an antenna element, or “dot,” which delivers mobile broadband access to users.
The dots are connected and powered via standard internet LAN cables (Category 5/6/7) to indoor radio units that link to a base station. They also support integration with Ericsson’s carrier Wi-Fi portfolio.
Ericsson said the solution, which is the result of two years of research and development, incorporates 14 patents and is expected to be commercially available in late 2014.
Current indoor solutions are built mainly for voice coverage and do not meet the growing capacity demands of apps, according to Ericsson.
Meanwhile, high costs and limited scalability have hindered operators as they attempt to provide quality indoor coverage and services.
Ericsson said Radio Dot caters to “different kinds of users in medium to large indoor locations” and aims “to address operators’ needs of offering a complete indoor solution”.
To do so, the new solution leverages the same features found in Ericsson’s macro base station so the indoor network evolves “in lockstep” with the outdoor network to provide a consistent user experience.
“With the Radio Dot System we lower the threshold to building indoor coverage,” commented Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson Business Unit Networks.
“The dot is the most cost-effective, no-compromise solution to the indoor coverage challenges expressed by our customers. It is ultra-small but can scale to virtually unlimited capacity; it is easy to install, future proof and it is 100 percent integrated with existing mobile networks.”
The vendor said Radio Dot is “gaining interest” from mobile operators in the US and provided a quote from Kris Rinne, Senior Vice President of Network and Product Planning at AT&T.
He said: “A solution like the Ericsson Radio Dot System gives AT&T another tool to choose from in its next-generation toolkit."
Ken Rehbehn, Principal Analyst at the Yankee Group added: “Sleek form factors that focus radio capability to solve the indoor deployment challenge in a fresh and compelling way will be welcomed into a wide variety of business and office venues”.