Mobile Devices

Fast indoor 5G moves closer to reality

12 May 2021
The three solutions from Ericsson will allow MNOs to use the full spectrum of the 39GHz frequency band inside buildings. Source: Ericsson

While indoor 5G is currently possible, the technology has trouble traveling through objects such as walls, trees or other obstacles rendering coverage spotty at best.

Ericsson is looking to change this with the addition of three new indoor products to its portfolio — the Indoor antenna integrated radio (AIR) 1279, Radio Dot 4459 small-cell radio and Ericsson Indoor Connect. The advanced indoor connectivity could be ported to locations such as airports, offices, factories and stadiums to provide next-generation wireless connectivity where it is weak or does not exist at all.

With more 5G connections being switched on in countries worldwide, attention is now being turned to indoor connectivity to drive new business and allow for more options for businesses. Mid-band and millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum delivers higher speeds, low latency and support massive amounts of devices in operation but struggle with traveling through obstacles, unlike sub-6 GHz, which has an easier time.

ABI Research forecasts that indoor wireless revenue will grow to $34.3 billion by 2026, up from $13.6 billion in 2021.

“These solutions are major developments that will enable mobile network operators (MNOs) to reduce TCO when addressing 5G in-building wireless deployments in three distinct ways,” said Johanna Alvarado, research analyst at ABI Research.

First, MNOs will be able to use the full spectrum allocated to the 39 GHz frequency band that will reduce deployment complexity due to baseband pooling configurations and enhancing the experiences of entertainment and transportation venues, Alvarado said. Secondly, the indoor solutions will allow MNOs to jointly deploy different radio access technologies including 5G leveraging the same infrastructure as opposed to legacy distributed antenna systems (DAS) that require overlaid in-building wireless equipment to deploy 5G in C-band. Finally, the C-band radio Dot will allow installation in challenging areas to reduce power consumption while keeping building aesthetics.

The 800 MHz indoor AIR 1270 brings mmWave 5G to small, medium and large venues with double the performance of 5G in buildings. The antenna offers beamforming capabilities and software to minimize the need for new cabling.

The Radio Dot 4459 is designed to support Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) New Radio as well as the C-band spectrum for indoor deployment in the U.S. The solution supports indoor 5G mid-band rollouts as well as the introduction of new options for communications service providers or new entrants to the indoor 5G market.

The indoor connect system allows several CSPs to deliver 5G indoors on sub-6 GHz bands as well as legacy 2G and 3G. Ericsson said it simplifies deployment while enabling faster deployment of indoor connectivity, particularly in places where multi-operator support is required like malls, stadiums, train stations and multi-business offices.

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