Ericsson boosted its Cloud RAN offering to include mid-band 5G and Massive MIMO compatibility, a move the vendor believes helps operators capitalise on their spectral assets and tap into the network product.

The company said it worked in close collaboration with customers including US operator Verizon and chipmaker Intel to enhance the capabilities of its Cloud RAN product, which it launched earlier this year, to help operators shift towards open network architectures and meet demand for more flexibility.

Adding mid-band to Cloud RAN was expected: Ericsson stated in late 2020 it would upgrade the system in stages, matching operator 5G rollouts, with the first stage covering low-band.

To integrate mid-band 5G, which Ericsson said required 150-times more compute power than 4G in half the time, the vendor worked with Intel to add its hardware accelerators, making cloud infrastructure a feasible option.

Existing footprints
Ericsson explained since the introduction of Cloud RAN, it had rolled out a virtualised RAN solution in numerous scenarios, including in its customers’ existing footprints.

This enabled providers to deploy the solution into their networks and “capitalise on the full interworking between the two network architectures”.

The move was being driven by Ericsson Cloud Link, a new solution allowing Cloud RAN to use existing network hardware and software, in addition to its spectrum sharing, uplink booster and carrier aggregation to operators across platforms.

Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of business area networks at Ericsson said it had enhanced cloud RAN “with the vision that our customers can deploy cloud-native networks virtually everywhere on any cloud, and server platform”.

In total, Ericsson said its Cloud RAN could reach 7 million radio systems already deployed in the field globally.