Ericsson has launched the RBS 6402, which it describes as the first indoor picocell to deliver 300Mbps LTE speeds with carrier aggregation. It is designed to address the performance requirements and economic imperatives of smaller sites on a future-proof platform with a compact, tablet-sized footprint.
Smaller buildings and venues have the same mobile broadband coverage and capacity requirements as their larger counterparts. But, in these smaller locations, this must be achieved at lower cost, both in terms of total installed capex and ongoing opex.
With hundreds of thousands of small cells and carrier Wi-Fi access points already shipped to leading operators around the world, Patrick Weibel, responsible for Mobile Data Networks, Swisscom, said: "In our efforts to meet the increasing demand for access to mobile data within buildings, brought about by new mobile enterprises and M2M opportunities, our focus is on cost-effective offerings for smaller buildings. With the all-in-one small cell RBS 6402 from Ericsson we can reduce our costs without compromising performance and remain competitive."
In today's mobile workplace the tenfold growth of mobile data traffic by 2019, increasing enterprise adoption of network-as-a-service models, and new device-to-device and M2M applications, present both opportunities and challenges for mobile operators.
To satisfy their consumer and business customers, grow in mobile enterprise and expand into new industries, mobile operators must deliver consistently high performance indoor app coverage deep into buildings of all sizes and then back out onto the street again.
Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst of wireless infrastructure, Ovum, said: "The indoor area, especially serving enterprise users, has started to heat up when it comes to small cells. It is the area where Ovum has seen the highest level of activity for small cell solutions. Unfortunately, many of those solutions create another network silo for the mobile operator as they aren't fully integrated or coordinated with the rest of the network.
“By deploying small cells as an almost separate network the mobile operator cannot fully leverage the overall network performance. Ericsson has addressed this with its new small cell that offers feature parity and tight coordination with the macro cell. At the same time the RBS6402 is a very strong small cell product on its own, with a combined feature set I don't see any other small cell offering at this time."
As the first picocell to support LTE speeds of up to 300Mbps with carrier aggregation, the RBS 6402 delivers twice the capacity and speed. Flexible and future proof, it's the only multi-carrier, concurrent multi-standard (LTE, WCDMA and Wi-Fi), and mixed-mode small cell to support 10 different bands, with two 3GPP standards (LTE and WCDMA) plus 802.11ac Wi-Fi operating simultaneously to deliver higher peak rates and capacity.
It integrates LTE and 3G radio access with Wi-Fi using Ericsson's industry-first Real-Time Traffic Steering to dynamically and seamlessly shift the mobile device connection between networks, delivering the best user experience and optimizing network resources.
It also leverages LTE-Advanced and supports VoLTE. Remote software activation of frequencies, bands and features eliminates the need for site visits in conjunction with refarming or acquiring new spectrum.
Plug-and-play installation using existing ethernet for power and connectivity and fast remote commissioning means the cells fully install and are network-live within 10 minutes. Cloud-based aggregation and gateway functionality reduce onsite equipment requirements and associated capex, while enabling consistent management across both indoor and outdoor network.
Ericsson said its range of small cell and carrier Wi-Fi solutions, including the new RBS 6402, is designed to ensures that mobile operators can address any mobile broadband coverage and capacity requirement today and in the future.
Optimised for indoor environments up to 5,000 square meters (roughly 54,000 square feet), the RBS 6402 packages four 250 milliwatt radios in a sleek 2.8 litre form factor that installs and auto-integrates in minutes.
Johan Wibergh, head of segment networks, Ericsson, said: "With the Radio
Dot System, we redefined the small cell architecture to address a wide range of underserved buildings, but we knew we still had to crack the price-performance barrier for smaller venues. Now the RBS 6402 cost-effectively serves the needs of smaller sites, which we estimate account for approximately 10 million buildings worldwide.
“With the Ericsson small cell and carrier Wi-Fi portfolio, mobile operators can now address their consumer and enterprise customers and new industrial opportunities in any indoor and outdoor environment."
Coordinating small cells with the macro network, Ericsson delivers reliable connectivity and mobility through heterogeneous networks that employ common traffic management across technologies, frequencies and locations.
This holistic approach enables continuous monitoring of user performance across radio technologies, whether 2G, 3G, LTE or Wi-Fi, and between indoors and outdoors and coordinates decisions based on network load or service prioritisation.
By eliminating the need to send traffic to the core network when moving between cells, techniques such as soft handover between base stations reduce both latency and dropped connections. Radio coordination between the macro and small cells can also reduce the number of small cells required by up to 70%.
Ericsson added that it supports all of its small cell products with network design, roll out, support and optimisation services. Ericsson Global Services also brings along the end-to-end capabilities needed to ensure seamless operation between small cell additions and existing network assets.