Ericsson tests giant panels to improve coverage in China

China Mobile and Ericsson have joined forces to trial the City Site, a four meter tall panel that includes a base station and an antenna customized for hotspot coverage.

As cities get more populated and data usage increases, cracks start to show in traditional mobile network layouts – they just can’t handle the load. Many see the solution in so-called heterogeneous networks, or HetNets, which so-called small cells that can offload the existing network. For users, that should mean better coverage and higher mobile broadband speeds.

Ericsson is a keen HetNet proponent and the Swedish networking giant has just launched a commercial trial of what it calls the City Site “integrated solution” in Nanning, the capital of China’s Guangxi region, alongside China Mobile. The four-meter-high package includes a standard Ericsson base station in this case, along with an integrated multidirectional antenna.

The “Omni Antenna” in question is rather short-range (up to a couple of hundred meters) and relatively close to the ground, which fits in nicely with what Ericsson is trying to achieve here: network densification, a central tenet of HetNet architecture.

Ericsson’s City Site design also allows add-on modules for video ad screens, clocks, touchscreen real-time information displays and so on.

The City Site panel is suitable for use in a variety of different places, such as railway stations, schools, parks, squares, and main avenues, according Ericsson. China Mobile is testing the panel as part of its GSM network, but it can also support 3G and LTE.


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