Light Reading

Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
12/20/2012
50%
50%

As operators seek new ways to boost 3G and 4G LTE network capacity and performance, Ericsson AB's antenna integrated radio (AIR) product has been a big hit.

Unveiled in February 2011, Ericsson's AIR combines two radio access network (RAN) elements that are traditionally separate -- the antenna and the radio unit -- into one compact piece of equipment. The product has been shipping in large volumes throughout 2012.

According to Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown, Ericsson said in the autumn of 2012 that it was shipping 2,000 units per week.

What makes AIR refreshing [ed. note: pun intended] is that it improves mobile network performance and it's easier to deploy than conventional products, according to Thomas Noren, VP and head of radio networks at Ericsson. The improved performance is most noticeable at the edge of a base station's coverage as well as in the uplink, which are keys areas where operators can improve customers' experience on the network, he explains.

The new antenna puts Ericsson ahead of rivals Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Siemens Networks, which do not yet have such products available, says Heavy Reading's Brown.

"NSN and Huawei are doing the same type of product, but they are being a bit more ambitious," he says. "They are going for a greater number of active antenna elements, which are more complex. Ericsson has gone earlier with a simpler, more practical product and they've been able to industrialize it."

"They've hit a sweet spot with it," he says. "It looks like they've judged it well, striking a balance between innovation and creating a product that is ready for operators to deploy."

It even looks good. "It's aesthetically pleasing and should save on site costs," says Brown.

T-Mobile USA has certainly been blown away by AIR [ed. note: couldn't resist]. The carrier is installing the antennas across its U.S. network as it works through its 42Mbit/s network upgrade and Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollout. This is the largest deployment of the product, according to Ericsson.

During his keynote speech at the 4G World conference in October, T-Mobile USA CTO Neville Ray described AIR as, "one of the most innovative products we've seen in this space for some time."

"That's proved a great product for us to speed through zoning, jurisdictional approvals and so on ... and for enabling us to very rapidly move through our modernization program," he said. (You can watch the video of Ray's speech here -- he talks about AIR at around the 8:30 mark.)

AIR is part of Ericsson's overall Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) strategy. The Swedish vendor's prescription for operators to improve network performance is to first add more macro base stations, then improve existing base stations by adding capacity or carriers with products like AIR, and finally, deploy small cells in certain urban areas where traffic is highest.

-- Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:22 AM
re: Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR


Is AT&T using AIR? De La Vega did mention having radios at the top of the tower for extra signal recently.

palyndrhome
50%
50%
palyndrhome,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:19 AM
re: Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR


In what specific way has the AIR device made land use approvals easier?  As a former "site acq" guy this really impresses me.


AJ Allred - Salt Lake City

joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:19 AM
re: Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR


Hey AJ


It's much smaller and sleeker than the typical unit so that helps. I'll ask Gabriel Brown if he can way in with more detail.


 


DJ

^Eagle^
50%
50%
^Eagle^,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:19 AM
re: Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR


AJ,


Dan,


 


one factor in making site acquisition easier is that the RAN is in the same module as the antenna.  This should eliminate long runs of fat coaxial cable up the Macro towers to carry high power RF from old school base stations up to antenna located far away.  For this design, you have to run power cable and a feedline for the signal.  but this should easily reduce the physical weight load on the towers, and lower wind loading as well.  And remember, for most multi element antenna's, you run a co-ax per element, or some combination of several RF feeds.  So even for 2 antenna, you reduce the coax footprint by 2 coax cables.  These are heavy and create wind load and cost money to buy and install.  


And site acquisition process is likely affected because these units could in theory nest onto existing towers without much extra infrastructure being needed.  Tower owners would find it easier to approve hanging these units if the overall loading was either minimally impacted, or even reduced if you can remove some coax.  


Also with this set up, you should theoretically save power.  No RF losses for carrying the signal up long coax antenna runs.  you can therefore use fewer or lower power RF amplifiers.  So less power consumption.


I  am sure this is not all of it, but given some background experience I had in towers and antenna, this has got to be part of it.


IMHO


sailboat

palyndrhome
50%
50%
palyndrhome,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:18 AM
re: Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR


That makes sense: a smaller unit might ease the zoning process.  Thanks.

palyndrhome
50%
50%
palyndrhome,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:17 AM
re: Ericsson Puffed Up on AIR


Everything you said makes sense.  At the very least, the effort to reduce skyline profile ought to soften even the most sticky neighborhood opposition.

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (3) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection – That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive