Ericsson software upgrade targets great indoors, makes networks faster

Three sausages does unlicenced aggregation

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A substantial software upgrade for Ericsson mobile networking kit will improve throughput, said the firm – adding it will need new hardware, meaning your existing device won’t automatically run faster.

Ericsson called its new release “Ericsson Networks Software 16A” and it includes a suite of LTE software upgrades targeting the great indoors.

The company claims that it will boost uplink speeds by up to 200 per cent, downlink speeds by up to 30 per cent, and adds LTE Unlicensed (LTE-U), the first commercial step in Licensed Assisted Access Device.

All of this stuff has been demonstrated before and shown in trials with speeds of up to 600Mbps, but this is the first time it’s made a commercial release.

Ericsson’s research shows that mobile consumers not only want vast amounts of mobile data – principally for video – but they are going to want more and more of it. This is pretty handy for a company trying to persuade the mobile networks to buy more kit.

"Increases in video and media uploads by businesses and consumers via apps like Instagram and Facebook call for better uplink speeds,” the company said.

And it claimed to have the solution: ”Ericsson Networks Software 16A includes two uplink enhancements that will enable mobile operators to utilise 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) on uplink to provide 50 per cent better peak speeds of 75Mbps."

"In addition, it enables uplink carrier aggregation, which can double uplink data speeds. Combined, these improvements provide peak uplink data rates of up to 150Mbps, which is a 200 per cent improvement. Further enhancements focused on the indoor space boost download speeds by 30 per cent using 256 QAM encoding,” it claimed.

Ericsson is well ahead of its rivals to market with this. It may all be enshrined in 3GPP standards, but it seems likely that only Huawei will have a 256 QAM any time soon, with Nokia and ZTE having been very quiet on the matter.

“To keep pace with mobile broadband demand from both consumers and industry, operators need solutions that deliver both high performance and efficiency," said Arun Bansal, senior veep, and head of business unit radio, Ericsson.

"Ericsson’s indoor software innovations deliver both. And, these new features, combined with Ericsson’s end-to-end solutions, flexible go-to-market and business models and proactive relationships with key device ecosystem partners, ensure that our leading operators not only keep pace, but set the pace,” he added.

The new software also makes the network a little greener as it has a cell sleep mode. This feature enables individual carriers to automatically switch off during periods of low traffic demand.

While saving power is always A Good Thing, it’s particularly important in rolling out coverage to rural areas, where power might be on-site diesel generators, wind, solar or a combination. Just because places are out of the way, it doesn’t mean they don’t want the speeds afforded by carrier aggregation.

But it’s indoors where Ericsson sees its new software as the big win, or at least of greatest value to its customers. Ericsson is expanding its use of channel partners, such as Anixter, and working with leading real estate developers and property managers, including Skanska, helping to create new business opportunities.

And it will tout its consultancy services to help companies work out what to install. Hint: it won't be kit from Huawei. ®

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