Dot shaped small cell integrates macro mobile networks and existing indoor wiring to boost mobile signal
Ericsson is launching a mobile radio that is small enough to fit in the hand while providing enough indoor network coverage for a crowd. The disk-shaped product, called Ericsson Radio Dot System, addresses a broad range of scenarios for providing high quality access to mobile broadband and voice services indoors.
An in-building environment presents a special set of challenges for mobile operators, concerning complexity, scalability and service continuity. Current indoor solutions are built mainly for voice coverage and do not meet the growing capacity demands of apps and covering major parts of buildings has been challenging, for reasons such as high costs and limited scalability, notes Ericsson.
Ericsson Radio Dot System weighs 300 grams, is the result of two years of research and development, and incorporates 14 patents. It introduces a new antenna element, or 'dot' that delivers mobile broadband access to users. Because of its convenient size, scalability, and evolution path, this product caters to different kinds of users in medium to large indoor locations, and aims to address operators' needs of offering a complete indoor solution.
Dots are connected and powered via standard internet LAN cables to indoor radio units that link to a base station. Radio Dot System uses the same features found in Ericsson's macro base station and supports integration with Ericsson's carrier Wi-Fi portfolio enabling features such as real time traffic steering to ensure the best user experience across both Wi-Fi and 3GPP networks.
Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson business unit networks, said: 'With the Radio Dot System we lower the threshold to building indoor coverage. It is ultra-small but can scale to virtually unlimited capacity; it is easy to install, future proof and it is 100% integrated with existing mobile networks.'
The product has already been gaining interest from mobile operators in the US. AT&T Services' Kris Rinne, senior vice president, network and product planning, said: 'Small cells are a key component of AT&T's Project VIP network enhancement programme as we seek to constantly improve our customers' mobile internet experience. Delivering a great wireless experience indoors can present both technical and logistical challenges. A solution like the Ericsson Radio Dot System gives AT&T another tool to choose from in its next generation toolkit.'
The product is expected to be commercially available in late 2014.