In advance of the 2014 Mobile World Congress, set for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, telecom infrastructure provider Ericsson on Feb. 12 made some announcements that confirm that it is expanding corporate strategy to the enterprise IT service provider market.
Amid a score of new products and services, Ericsson introduced a new unified management system for high-performance network functionality; a new general-purpose mobile platform called Networks Software 14B, which is designed to enhance network performance and enable operator growth; and an all-in-one outdoor enclosure that encapsulates multi-standard radio, transmission, power and climate equipment.
It's all part of the so-called "new Ericsson," which is how the company is now describing itself. This is about the telecom hardware and former phone handset maker morphing into a cloud infrastructure provider, much in the same way fellow old-school hardware/software makers Oracle, IBM and Dell are evolving.
'Networked Society Coming to Life'
"The networked society that we have been talking about for some time now is coming to life," Ericsson Chief Marketing Officer Arun Bhikshesvaran told eWEEK. "With all of our history in the telecom infrastructure industry, we feel our role at Ericsson is to be a guide in that networked society."
In all, Ericsson is debuting more than 200 new and enhanced features in the product releases, which the company claims are rigorously tested to ensure smooth rollout. Ericsson tests the software on network equipment with devices from all major vendors.
Key features of the Networks Software 14B package include LTE carrier aggregation for three carriers, to reach peak data speeds of 450 Mbps; LTE Uplink Coordinated Multi Point (UL CoMP), which can provide twice the app coverage for all devices; and Ericsson-unique features for WCDMA, such as a dynamic power-sharing feature, which gives all devices up to 50 percent faster data speed.
Networks Software 14B will be available for network roll-out later this year, when all features and functionality have been tested and confirmed in live networks, Bhikshesvaran said.
When configured as a high-capacity outdoor radio base station, the All-in-One Outdoor Enclosure can provide capacity for up to eight digital and up to 12 radio units for all relevant radio standards and frequency bands. It can also be used as a main unit in a main remote configuration using up to 16 internally installed digital units and up to 18 remote radio units, or a combination of macro and main-remote.
New Ways to Manage Networks
Ericsson's new Network Manager will be the platform for telecom operators to manage the transformation of their networks to new IT, enabling management of hybrid networks, ranging from multi-standard radio, small cell and integrated Wi-Fi in indoor environments, Time Division Multiplexing, evolved IP networks, virtual network infrastructures and dynamic networking with software defined networks (SDN).
Together with Ericsson Cloud Manager, Ericsson Network Manager delivers a full solution for managing information and technology in operators' converging ICT infrastructure.
"Software is now just as important as the hardware in a network," said Ken Rehbehn, Principal Analyst of Yankee Group. "As network equipment providers drive software innovation, comprehensive release packaging -- along with tools and processes for rapid software roll-out across massively scaled mobile and fixed networks -- provides operators needed agility to confidently launch new capabilities while boosting network performance."
All the new products for cloud service providers will become available at various times in 2014, Ericsson said.