NTT DoCoMo plans field trials of Ericsson’s 5G radio prototypes in 2016

NTT DoCoMo will take prototypes of radios equipped with capabilities that could form part of 5G networks into field trials as early as 2016, according to a news release from Ericsson.

The release said that Ericsson is readying the following:

  • Radios including features such as multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) and beamforming, that operators can deploy in live outdoor and indoor network environments and across multiple sites
  • Radio access prototypes integrated with cloud-based network slicing
  • Designs with 64 radio chains and 128 antenna elements in a compact, pole or wall-mounted form factor

The field trials form phase two of Ericsson’s prototype testing, moving from the lab environment to outdoor and indoor live deployments.

Although commercialisation of 5G is not expected until 2020 at the earliest, vendors and operators are already beginning to test certain functions and features that are expected to form part of 5G radio and core network specifications.

Ericsson has previously announced 11 operators have been working with its 5G Radio Test Bed. The new announcement moves that work on in terms of form factor and deployment in the field.Until now the 5G Radio Test Bed has involved large bulky test devices, but Ericsson said that the new prototype is a suitcase sized device weighing 18kg.

More on Ericsson’s 5G Radio Test Bed here.