Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson has developed software-driven plug-ins that it says bring the “5G evolution to existing networks” while improving operators’ mobile broadband, fixed wireless and IoT services.

The plug-ins are supported by the vendor’s radio system and are focused on capabilities that operators can integrate within their current networks to facilitate their evolution to 5G.

Peter Jarich, a VP at Current Analysis,
 said that while 5G has gained momentum over the last year, without spectrum allocations or ratified standards, operators need a migration tactic allowing them to leverage current network investments in synch with their 5G evolution strategies. “Ericsson’s 5G Plug-Ins deliver this flexibility, supporting the deployment of advanced access technologies in the near-term, and in preparation for 5G.”

The company said the plug-ins – which cover everything from multi-user MIMO to RAN virtualisation to intelligent connectivity 
– will be available for operator trials this year and for commercial networks next year. It noted that its 5G field trials this year will give it a foundation for developing the new plug-ins.

Ericsson also announced it is partnering with Swisscom and its academic partner, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, to launch the ‘5G for Switzerland’ programme, which will work with industry partners to understand how 5G can innovate their business and develop industrial applications to implement and trial.

At its analyst event in Stockholm today Ericsson said it is working with 24 operators, 12 industry partners and nearly 20 universities and research institutes on 5G projects and future use cases.