Ericsson targets simplified site upgrades with new radio unit

Ericsson this week introduced a new radio unit that has multi-band support across different technologies and promises capacity enhancements and cost savings.

The vendor touted a bevy of benefits from the three-sector dual-band radio such as helping operators boost 5G frequency capacity, reduce installation time and costs, and lower energy consumption by up to 50% thanks to a smaller footprint.

The Radio 6626 combines two frequencies and six ports in a single unit and can increase Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) 5G spectrum capacity on tower sites that already have radios spanning 2G to 4G technologies.  The product is aimed at customers in the Middle East & Africa, and South East Asia Oceania & India. 

The 6T6R radio is built for low and lower mid-band frequencies. Ericsson has a version that supports 900 MHz and 800 MHz, and a version for 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz. With fewer radios required, Ericsson promised up to 50% less energy consumption.  

While providing 720W of power output, it’s also light at less than 45 kg.

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Telma Madagascar Group CEO Patrick Pisal-Hamida in Ericsson’s announcement gave kudos to the products as it upgrades tower sites.

”The new multi-band, multi-sector, high-power radios from Ericsson will meet Telma’s need for more efficient tower upgrades,” Pisal-Hamida  stated. “They will bring tangible OPEX benefits in minimizing power consumption, weight on tower, and faster rollout. We are excited to deploy Ericsson’s multi-standard technology solutions with the smallest footprint in the industry.”

Less hardware and installation is needed when combined with a new Voltage Booster that the Swedish vendor said expands power capacity to radios by up to 50% through existing cables.

Using existing cables and the 6649 booster, service providers can save up to 70% on hardware and installation, according to Ericsson.

Ericsson Head of Product Line Radio David Hammarwall said in a statement that the significantly reduced radio footprint, installation time, and total power consumption “will help our customers to increase capacity and further accelerate 5G coverage with ubiquitous FDD bands.”

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The new products are meant to complement Ericsson’s recent Massive MIMO and RAN Compute portfolios and the vendor was sure to mention that the units are powered by its own Ericsson silicon.

As open RAN takes off, one challenge for newer entrants is delivering products with high-performance but open silicon to meet demanding 5G processing and power needs (in scenarios like high-capacity Massive MIMO). That compares to traditional vendors like Ericsson, which develop their own silicon like in its Massive MIMO portfolio. Ericsson’s latest radio isn’t for higher mid-band spectrum, although it complements the vendor’s massive MIMO unit, which is 64T compared to the new 6T6R.