Ericsson has launched three new small cell products as it looks to expand the market and prepare networks for increased connections via the Internet of Things and 5G.
The Multi-Operator Dot system expands on the vendor's existing Radio Dot range but allows operators to share access to the products. According to Ericsson, one operator manages the system of dots and up to four others provide radio frequency signals.
It said it is similar in practice to a distributed antenna system but with small cells' performance and cost-effective functionality.
The Multi-Dot Enclosure combines several Dots into a single box. Ericsson said this can help with multi-operator deployments but without hindering a building's aesthetics. The Swedish company said this product would be suitable for deployments where operators are charged per box.
The Strand Mount Unit is aimed at making it easier to deploy small cells on aerial coax, fibre or electricity cables. It can support up to four micro radios across multiple operators, which the vendor said could aid more cost-efficient deployments.
All three products will go on sale next year.
Nishant Batra, Head of Product Area Network Infrastructure at Ericsson, said: “We have developed scalable small cell models to meet the current demands of our customers while also preparing for requirements that will be imposed by 5G and the IoT.
“With the Multi-Operator Dot and the Multi-Dot Enclosure, our customers can enhance the inbuilding user experience with excellent connectivity for both smartphones and IoT devices. The Strand-Mount Unit for outdoor micro radios, meanwhile, facilitates the dense deployments that will be required for 5G – enabling operators to deploy small cells in areas where they may not have been able to do so previously.”
Mark Lowenstein, Managing Director of the Mobile Ecosystem consultancy, added: “The mobile industry is experiencing an evolution in the way we use our devices, the methods in which we design the networks for upcoming 5G technologies, and the way we deploy small cells.
"Multi-operator solutions will be critical to expanding the market for small cells and the range of possible deployments. Ericsson’s new small cell solutions address these industry changes to enable operators to deliver the needed coverage and capacity in a variety of environments."