Ericsson unveils the latest addition to its Massive MIMO portfolio—the ultra-lightweight antenna-integrated radio AIR 3268—for easier and efficient 5G mid-band deployments in dense urban and suburban areas.
At 12 kg (26 lb) and 23 liters, AIR 3268 is the lightest and smallest Massive MIMO radio in the industry. With 200 W output power, 32 transceivers and passive cooling, the radio weighs about 40 percent less than the earlier generation, making installations easy not only on towers and rooftops, but also on poles and walls.
The radio will help to accelerate 5G mid-band deployment for communications service providers seeking to boost capacity, coverage, speeds and mobile experiences for their subscribers.
Ericsson’s latest radio is 10 percent more energy-efficient than the earlier generation, lowering the total added power consumption when introducing 5G on mid-band. It also supports Ericsson’s unique Massive MIMO architecture and Uplink Booster capabilities that deliver leading network performance.
Ericsson has developed AIR 3268 in partnership with BT to address 5G challenges. Through the development process, the ultra-lightweight radio has been designed for 5G mid-band Massive MIMO performance to deliver the benefits of deployment simplicity and improved energy efficiency.
Greg McCall, managing director of Service Platforms, BT Group, said, “the 3.5 GHz band and Massive MIMO technology are important to our 5G network strategy to deliver the best customer experience in urban areas. We continue to add capacity within our market-leading 5G coverage, but to maximize our ability to deploy this technology, we need to minimize the burden on our site infrastructure."
He added, “BT is pleased to be working with Ericsson on this product, which is less than half the size and weight of our current solution, reducing wind loading on existing sites and providing potential for adding 3.5 GHz Massive MIMO in new locations. The reduced power consumption will help BT deliver on our sustainability ambition.”
David Hammarwall, head of Product Line Radio, Ericsson, said, “We continue to revolutionize Massive MIMO with ultra-lightweight radios that allow easier site upgrades and more seamless 5G mid-band deployments. AIR 3268 widens the options for the radio site, allowing service providers to boost their networks and deliver faster 5G speeds and response times. It is also energy-efficient, which is important to us and our customers.”
With its size and weight, AIR 3268 will simplify upgrades and new site acquisitions even in locations where footprint may prove challenging. The new radio also supports Ericsson’s mini bracket, providing lower total weight and easier installations.
AIR 3268 joins the family of ultra-lightweight radios launched in February this year. Like the rest of the company’s Massive MIMO radios, it is designed with Ericsson Silicon, providing real-time channel estimation and ultra-precise beamforming that improves coverage and user experience.