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Ericsson tees up ‘Hetnet’ launch with Antenna Integrated Radio

Tower outsourcing is increasingly popular

Infrastructure vendor Ericsson has announced the launch of its antenna integrated radio solution (AIR), a new network configuration that sees the antenna element of a base station integrated into the radio unit.

Ericsson said that field tests of the unit have yielded a 42 per cent reduction in power consumption and a 30 per cent reduction of integration and installation time. The news comes a day after Alcatel Lucent announced its own new infrastructure architecture, designed to cut costs and power consumption.

Ulf Ewaldsson, vice president and head of product area, Radio at Ericsson, said: “AIR is the fruit of in-depth discussions with customers about their future requirements for highly efficient radio access solutions. AIR will not only cut operational costs substantially, but it will also ensure a smooth introduction of new technologies and frequency bands.”

While Alcatel Lucent is a vocal proponent of the femtocell play, Ericsson has steered clear of this segment of the infrastructure market. Its response is a new architecture that it has called the “heterogeneous network”, or Hetnet, and Ewaldson said the AIR product is the “first step” on the road to its introduction.

“We are experiencing a tremendous take off in mobile broadband and the user expectations on speed and coverage are increasing the demands on the networks. In order to cope with the future capacity demands, we have a clearly defined small cell strategy. I am proud to announce that the AIR architecture is the first stepping stone towards a heterogeneous network,” he said.

The AIR is scheduled for commercial availability in the second half of this year.

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