The vendor says its "5G plug-ins" will help operators evolve their networks and learn about 5G capabilities ahead of 2020, when standards-based commercial next-generation networks are expected to go live. The plug-ins will be available for tests later this year and become commercially available in 2017, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) says.
"5G Plug-ins are network software –- they are a way to deploy 5G technology concepts on today's networks, improving user experience, increasing network capacity and efficiency while preparing networks for 5G use cases and deployments," Antti Keintola, portfolio manager, business unit radio at Ericsson, tells Light Reading in an email.
The plug-ins, which grab a term popularized by software add-ons for digital music production systems like Pro-Tools, simulate a number of building block concepts of 5G that, in theory, will help to improve network efficiency and customer experience:
Ericsson says it's already working with more than 20 mobile operators worldwide on various 5G use cases and, in some cases, even field trials. (See T-Mobile to Test 5G With Nokia, Ericsson , TeliaSonera, Ericsson Join 5G Early Movers, Ericsson Readies 5G Radio Prototypes for NTT Docomo Trials and SoftBank & Ericsson Plot 5G Trials in Japan.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading