Ericsson Radio Dot plays catchup with Huawei Lampsite 3.0


Ericsson Radio Dot

Ericsson’s Radio Dot has been the company’s primary medium-sized in-building solution for some years, competing with Enterprise Small Cells and DAS systems. Last week saw four significant additional features being announced, which some would see as catching up with Huawei’s Lampsite 3.0 launch announced some months ago.

The press release highlights three new formats for Radio Dot:

There’s also a available to view on SlideShare

1. Multi-Operator Radio Dot

This isn’t entirely new – Ericsson have previously touted that their system could be configured to support two independent operators. The announcement increases this to four. Each operator would only have a single frequency band or technology (3G/4G) but could choose which one.

The question is whether all operators in a country would integrate Ericsson equipment into their networks. Some have distinct geographical areas allocated to each vendor and it would be confusing to restrict equipment choices like this to a region

2. Multi-Dot enclosure.

This is simply a box into which several Radio Dots can be fitted. In buildings where the equipment is visible on the ceiling or walls, then perhaps arguably this will make it less obtrusive. In many cases, small cells or radio heads are hidden in the plenum area above false ceilings, so this would make little difference. My understanding is that each Radio Dot in this configuration would still require its own dedicated Cat 6 cable to provide both signal and power.

So perhaps not a radical breakthrough compared to simply installing multiple units as we’ve seen from other installations.

3. Strand mounted outdoor enclosure

This encloses the equipment in weatherproof box that can be hung from street wiring and deployed by cable operators or other utilities with access to street wiring.

The low RF power of the Radio Dot translates to a relatively short range, being originally designed for in-building use. It could certainly cover outdoor streets but there would be limited in-building penetration.

Driving Radio Dot from other vendor’s basestations

The fourth feature not highlighted in the press release is that the system will now accept up to three different RF signals from external sources, such as competitor’s basestations. This interface is the same used to connect to DAS systems and would allow deployment serving networks without Ericsson as an existing supplier – it would simply be viewed and operated as a DAS.

Again there is a constraint that the system is limited to a total of four signals – these can be 3G or 4G and split across several of the popular cellular frequency bands. For installations with a smaller number of operators, the option exists for carrier aggregation or providing both 3G and 4G to maximise device support.

Huawei’s Lampsite 3.0 offers a much larger total frequency band and capacity (up to 240MHz of signal) at the expense of fibre connection to the radio node. Lower capacity units can be powered directly over Cat 5 or 6 cable alone.

Commercial approach

Ericsson view this to be commercially driven by network operators. A single lead operator would install the system at their own expense, then resell/lease capacity on it to other network operators.

This has been an approach for DAS systems for some years, although in many countries the building owner would contribute towards the cost. There’s no mention of the building owner acquiring the system directly and then asking one or more operators to “light it up”.

The choice between standalone small cells and full DAS solution

Some deployments mandate a wide range of different frequency bands and technologies, including 2G, 3G and 4G MIMO together with private and public safety. DAS technology is good at supporting a comprehensive range of frequencies and options, although has traditionally been viewed as expensive.

Small cell solutions are very cost effective at providing one or two technologies and/operators, incorporating the “signal source” and requiring only commonly available Ethernet cabling. They will be ideal for CBRS where only a single common frequency is used.

These newer variants of distributed radio systems, such as Ericsson Radio Dot, Huawei Lampsite, ZTE Qcell aim to solve both issues of low cost and multi-operator/multi-technology.

It remains to be seen which of these three approaches will hit the sweet spot for largest long term market demand.

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Comments   

#1 Graham Payne said: 
It is good to see Ericsson pushing development in this space although I think they have catch up to do on their commercial thinking. The market in most countries is now moving to where the enterprises pay for the mobile network utility in their buildings. A lot due to the higher specification building standards, not of network operators making so why should they fund solving it.

Enterprises are now more inclined to accept this but the key factor for most on what is often un-budgeted expenditure is the cost of the solution. If it is lower cost for small cells or spidercloud than DOT, Lampsite or DAS then this is what will win the day. When including the cost of the antenna equipment, remote and base units, then operator base stations and significantly backhaul lines (often dedicated per operator) the cost of deploying multiple small cells is significantly lower.

I would encourage Ericsson, Huawei and other equipment suppliers to come up with low cost small cell products and then we could see small cell solutions in all offices and buildings, 3G is still necessary at present, 4G only is likely to be viable in a few years time.
0 Quote 2017-09-13 17:31
 
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