Our 5G technology moves from test bed to field trial prototypes

5G has become the hottest topic in mobile, even though standards-based 5G networks will only be commercially available starting in 2020. Mobile operators around the world have already indicated that pre-standard, pre-commercial networks can be expected earlier in a number of markets.

As with past mobile generations, leading operators are keen to gain a first-mover advantage in 5G. Working with these operators, we're leading the development of new 5G technologies to ensure early success and enable rapid adoption of 5G-enabled applications. 5G will deliver better, faster mobile broadband for consumers, and enable video everywhere. But 5G will also connect new types of devices to drive new IoT, or Internet of Things, applications for everything from connected vehicles to immersive gaming experiences to remote surgery.

So, operator differentiation in 5G will not be based on lab trials but on what they are able to achieve in live network environments. Our 5G Radio Prototypes are the first products designed to enable operators to conduct live field trials in their own networks. With Ericsson 5G Radio Prototypes, operators move beyond the 5G hype of lab-based speed tests and gain a greater understanding of the potential for 5G in their own network environments and markets.

In fact, 5G Radio Prototypes have been developed as an evolution of Ericsson’s award-winning 5G Radio Test Bed, which achieved a number of world’s first technology milestones for both peak throughput and advanced integration in indoor and outdoor environments. Now, we've taken a key step along the path to commercialization with 5G Radio Prototypes developed to support operator field trials. Smaller and more powerful than their predecessor, Ericsson 5G Radio Prototypes pack 64 radio chains, advanced beamforming and multi-user or MU-MIMO, into a compact, easy to deploy form factor, the size of your carry-on luggage.

Of course, we have also been actively applying our 5G innovations to today’s LTE networks, with new features such as Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), supporting the 5G technology concept of licensed-unlicensed spectrum band aggregation, and Lean Carrier, which employs 5G ultra-lean design concepts on today’s LTE networks and smartphones.

5G technology will encompass an evolution of today's LTE technology and the addition of new radio access technologies, often in higher frequencies. Ericsson’s new 5G radio access technology is referred to as NX. While 5G will impact the entire mobile network and associated eco-system, from devices to radio access, IP core and into the cloud, the Ericsson 5G Radio Test Bed and new 5G Radio Prototype innovations focus on the interactions between mobile devices (used by both people and things) and the radio access network, both indoors and outside.

Through key technology advances like our 5G Radio Prototypes, we and our operator customers are defining and delivering the next generation of network technology.