Viaero Wireless, a regional telecommunications company that has served parts of the Midwest and western United States for more than 30 years, has selected Ericsson to replace and upgrade its LTE equipment to end-to-end 5G-ready products and solutions, according to a statement from Ericsson. With this modernization, Viaero will be able to offer upgraded mobility and broadband services, which will result in an improved customer experience for their subscribers, Ericsson said.
“We needed a partner that could step up and provide a turnkey solution,” said Frank DiRico, CEO and founder of Viaero. “The key to our success is providing the best possible service to our customers. In addition to Ericsson’s industry-leading products and solutions, we felt that Ericsson had the best team to make this project successful when looking at different technology options.”
With its headquarters in Fort Morgan, Colorado, Viaero is one of the largest U.S. regional carriers in the country, covering parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas, Ericsson said. Under the agreement, Ericsson said it would replace core, radio access network (RAN), microwave and router equipment for more than 900 LTE sites in Viaero’s network.
Ericsson said it would provide a cloud-native core and RAN portfolio, microwave and transport solutions. “This robust portfolio of products and solutions will allow Viaero to expand its connectivity footprint, reach more customers and continue delivering high-speed internet to rural America,” the Ericsson statement reads.
“With their large footprint across the heart of the United States, Viaero recognized the need for reliable 5G-ready networks to bring connectivity and digitization to businesses and consumers,” said Niklas Heuveldop, president and head of Ericsson North America.
Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.
5G telecom vendors — like the 5G telecom carriers profiled in a Sept. 9 eDigest story — are stepping up their green initiatives to meet the power-hungry demands of 5G base stations, which can consume up to three times more power than 4G and LTE networks.
Telecom manufacturers such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei have invested heavily in green energy programs during the last few years.
“Can we rollout 5G and reduce energy consumption?” Ericsson asks on its Twitter page. “The answer is yes. It is possible to break the energy curve. We see this as an opportunity to rethink how to build, operate and manage networks in a smarter and more strategic way. It is not only an option it is an industry responsibility. The report presents how to reduce energy consumption of mobile networks, as well as solutions to manage mobile broadband traffic growth including 5G roll-outs.”
Ericsson estimates the global energy cost of running mobile networks is about $25 billion yearly, making energy consumption one of the wireless industry’s biggest challenges — Huawei from both cost and carbon footprint perspectives.
A supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and an active member of the Exponential Roadmap initiative, Ericsson has invested in solar power and other alternative energies. According to an Ericsson blog written by Saud Saya, site product and portfolio director at business area networks, “Ericsson acknowledges the energy challenges, costs and associated emissions that our industry is currently facing and is playing a leading role in addressing them through site products and solution innovations. These include industry best practices and designs, which enable service providers to build and deploy 5G with safety, simplicity and cost effectiveness front of mind.”
Meanwhile, Nokia’s website says the company is on a journey to a greener world. “Our aim is that every new product is more energy efficient than the previous model,” the website reads. “Nokia is using renewable energy in its own operations wherever available. For example, our operations in Finland are powered 100 percent by renewable energy sources.”
Nokia’s website features this statement: “80 percent of a mobile network’s energy is consumed by base station sites. Mobile operators report an increase of 10 to 30 percent annually in mobile network energy use. For example, the addition of LTE to existing GSM/WCDMA base station sites accounts for a 20 percent increase in energy consumption. Nokia’s zero emission site can cut the energy consumption of such sites by 70 percent.”
In July 2021, Aron Heller, lead writer and editor at Nokia Cloud and Network Services, posted an article discussing the importance of sustainability in the 5G market. “The telecom industry has had a long reputation of being wasteful,” the article reads. “But as climate change continues to worsen, sustainability has become a major corporate driving force with companies investing heavily in boosting productivity without further taxing the planet. Judging by revenue, more than a third of the mobile industry has already credibly committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or before.”
Meanwhile, Samsung has a won a number of the EPA’s Energy Star program awards, including the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership and superior contributions to the EPA’s Energy Star program. The award recognizes EPA partner businesses and organizations in good standing that demonstrate superior leadership, innovation, and commitment to environmental protection through energy efficiency and Energy Star.
Samsung, which manufacturers most of its products domestically in South Korea, has closer ties to the United States than its European rivals Nokia and Ericsson — both of which have significant manufacturing operations in China. Furthermore, Samsung purchases 100 percent renewable energy in the United States,
In July 2021, Samsung launched its SmartThings Energy, a new service within its app that allows consumers to take control of their energy consumption with monitoring, target-setting and notifications of its Samsung appliances and HVAC systems. By improving consumers’ household energy IQ, SmartThings Energy has the power to reduce monthly energy bills and contribute to a lower carbon footprint.
“People are spending more time at home and using their appliances more frequently, driving a need for larger capacity and better energy efficiency,” said Chanwoo Park, vice president and head of IoT business group at Samsung Electronics. “Our consumers want to be part of building a better, more ecofriendly tomorrow, and we are proud to help them achieve that vision by offering a more energy-efficient smart home experience.”
Huawei International, a China-based multinational designer and developer of telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics, said it is “working to build a greener, better and smarter world.” On Aug, 27, Huawei said it gathered the sharpest minds and impactful voices at Huawei Digital Power Summit 2021 Singapore to engage in conversations on creating a future where energy and technological innovation go hand in hand to create a sustainable ecosystem. Foo Fang Yong, CEO of Huawei International, said, “Huawei will mark its 20th anniversary in Singapore with core products and initiatives designed to push industry standards, systems integration and more.”
Terry Gao, managing director of Huawei Digital Power Singapore, said, “Like many nations across the globe, Singapore has outlined its future roadmap towards net-zero emissions, and Huawei’s commitment to energy transformation will play a pivotal role. A significant component of this transformation is made possible with digitalization. For digitization to be successful, we need more efficient data centers to be powered sufficiently and reliably. The establishing of Huawei Digital Power will allow Singapore to push ahead with more support as power digitalization takes shape.”
Mike Harrington is a contributing editor.
Ericsson and Mediacom Communications are working together to extend broadband services in rural America via fixed wireless access, according to Ericsson.
Mediacom — which Ericsson said is the fifth-largest cable operator in the United States, providing services to 1.5 million homes and businesses across 22 states — is the first major U.S. cable provider to launch a 3GPP standards-based Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) fixed Wireless access (FWA) high-speed internet service using Ericsson 4G and 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment.
The technology will help Mediacom reach new communities, said Per Wahlen, vice president and head of business development for Ericsson North America. “Connecting rural America has been a significant national challenge over the past decade, and our Ericsson solutions will quickly extend the reach of Mediacom’s broadband services and close the digital divide in numerous underserved rural areas,” he said.
The Ericsson RAN solutions allow Mediacom to offer FWA high-speed internet services up to nine miles from each tower location, a statement from Ericsson reads. “In turn, this will allow Mediacom to quickly and cost effectively offer broadband to thousands of new underserved homes in businesses in rural communities across Mediacom’s multistate footprint,” the statement reads. “These efforts demonstrate Mediacom’s and Ericsson’s commitment to support federal, state and local initiatives to close the digital divide.”
The ongoing COVID pandemic has demonstrated that a high-speed internet connection is more important than ever, said JR Walden, Mediacom’s chief technology officer. “We are thrilled to work with a trusted partner like Ericsson to launch robust fixed wireless broadband services in areas of the country that need it the most,” he said.
In a field trial, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies completed the first over-the-air 5G New Radio (NR) call on CBRS (Citizen Broadband Radio Service) spectrum, according to a statement from Ericsson.
Ericsson said that the combination of 5G NR over CBRS will enable a wide range of new applications for enterprises and industry verticals, which in turn supports the proliferation of private networks, further propelling the Industry 4.0 evolution.
“The promise of 5G NR in the CBRS band offers nearly unlimited potential for enterprise applications and industries,” said Paul Challoner, vice president of network product solutions for Ericsson North America. “This demonstrates our technology leadership and investments to date, and the fruits of our collaboration to drive the promise of private networks in the Industry 4.0 evolution.”
Francesco Grilli, vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies said that the 5G NR call over CBRS spectrum was a milestone with Ericsson in enabling the potential of 5G and woud help address the increasing data demand and evolving uses for wireless connectivity among consumers, enterprises, governments and other organizations.
“Qualcomm Technologies has been at the forefront of commercialization of CBRS with support since 2017 in our Snapdragon Mobile Platforms, LTE modems and the Snapdragon X55 and X65 5G Modem-RF Systems,” Grilli said.
CBRS, which uses shared spectrum from 3.55 GHz to 3.7 GHz, has been the catalyst for innovation to expand cellular usage beyond enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) in the United States, the statement reads. Combined with the commercial rollout of Priority Access Licenses (PAL), LTE-based CBRS network deployments are rapidly gaining momentum and proliferating across thousands of sites across the country, it said. The statement said that these sites enable use cases such as fixed wireless access (FWA), mobile network densification and private cellular networks.
“As the rollout of 5G NR network equipment in the CBRS band occurs, private cellular network performance will deliver improved throughput, reduced latency, enhanced reliability and greater connection density, thereby allowing for advanced applications such as mobile robotics, connected manufacturing and facilities and augmented reality industrial applications,” the statement reads. “In addition, the coordination of CBRS and licensed spectrum, such as C-band, through carrier aggregation further delivers increased capacity to enhance the user experience.”
According to Ericsson, with the first over-the-air 5G NR call, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies can deliver the power of 5G NR to CBRS shared spectrum. The field trial took place at Ericsson’s North America headquarters in Plano, Texas, using Ericsson’s 5G distributed innovation networkm together with a smartphone form-factor test device enabled by the Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform and the Snapdragon X60 5G modem-RF system, Ericsson said. The standalone 5G network configuration with rooftop radios allowed for various real-life test scenarios, including intra- and inter-band mobility and carrier aggregation (3.55-3.7 GHz TDD and C-band), as well as mobility between n48 and 5G low-band, or 4G, Ericssson’s statement reads.
Ericsson radios 4408 and AIR 6449 and the smartphone form-factor test device were used for the trial, and the over-the-air environment was made possible with the use of FCC test licenses, Ericsson said.
Equipment manufacturer Ericsson is expanding its portfolio of 5G radios with three new offerings geared toward urban environments, the company disclosed.
For its Street Solutions line, Ericsson designed the compact, lightweight radios to seamlessly blend in with streetlights, buildings and other urban hardscapes, the company said. It said the radios would allow communications service providers (CSPs) to build robust 5G service across all bands in urban environments while blending in seamlessly with the cityscapes.
“Urban deployments are critical for reaching the full potential of 5G,” said Kevin Zvokel, head of networks for Ericsson North America. “We know CSPs are looking for ways to deploy quickly and with simplicity, maximizing the 5G user experience while leveraging minimally intrusive equipment. Ericsson’s solutions do just this and can bring a complete 5G network to life across all bands.”
Made with Ericsson Silicon, the company’s system-on-a-chip technology, the radios are:
Street Radio 4402. Designed to turn a streetlight into a low- or mid-band 5G site in 15 minutes, these compact radios are an industry-unique collaboration with Ubicquia, boosting 4G and 5G experience with zero footprint.
AIR 4435. The 4T4R street antenna-integrated radio is designed for minimum footprint and easy installations, adding mid-band capacity to macro coverage gaps.
Street Macro 6705. A mmWave base station with integrated RAN compute is an end-to-end solution with low visual effect.
The Street Solutions line also includes transport solutions for any 5G street site, with wired and wireless backhaul and fronthaul solutions. Zero-footprint power systems for street and hotspot sites are carry-to-site, with low maintenance and operations costs.
Ericsson said that 5G deployments are accelerating across the country at a faster rate than expected. According to its annual mobility report, by the end of 2021, 25 percent of the global population will have 5G coverage. In North America, Ericsson said, more than 360 million 5G subscriptions are anticipated in the region by 2026, accounting for 84 percent of mobile subscriptions.
According to Ericsson, however, connectivity can suffer in dense urban environments, and as 5G comes to U.S. cities, urban rollouts are grappling with challenges such as how to deploy non-intrusive sites, how best to use all frequency layers, and how to streamline site permitting and installation. Many sites need to expand 5G capacity, and hotspots and streets need strengthened capacity in both low, mid and high-band to build a complete 5G network as traffic grows, the manufacturer said.