Ericsson unveils SA 5G software

SA 5G NR “will enable even more use cases and applications”

As the telecom ecosystem continues its march toward end-to-end 5G systems, Ericsson has announced the general availability of Standalone (SA) 5G New Radio software to support that transition.

The software became globally available to all customers last month, Ericsson said, and it has already been tested by network operators including T-Mobile US and Telstra.

The vendor said that all of its Ericsson Radio System equipment deployed since 2015 is capable of being upgraded to SA 5G NR with a software installation. The SA software solidifies Ericsson’s claim to an end-to-end SA 5G NR solution that combines its radio portfolio with its Ericsson 5G Core offering, plus the SA 5G software for low- to mid-band spectrum. 

“Over the past year, we have worked closely with many customers to successfully deploy Non-standalone 5G. These 5G networks have enabled higher data speeds and new use cases. Now we are taking the next step in the evolution of 5G by making generally available the software to support Standalone 5G NR networks,” said Per Narvinger, head of product area networks at Ericsson. “These standalone capabilities will enable even more use cases and applications.”

Most 5G implementations around the world have begun as Nonstandalone (NSA) deployments, which rely on an anchoring LTE network to carry signaling traffic. Ericsson said that its SA software supports the move to SA and will allow 5G NR to be added to existing 4G sites “with a simpler architecture,” or to roll out 5G at greenfield sites such as factories, in support of enterprise applications and services that take advantage of end-to-end 5G capabilities for low latency, like augmented/virtual reality. Ericsson said that SA 5G NR also has simpler mobility management and that SA 5G devices can connect to a SA 5G network six times faster than a device which is operating in NSA mode.

SA devices are expected to be commercially available later this year, Ericsson added.

Abdul Saad, CTO for T-Mobile US, called SA 5G “the next important step for wireless connectivity, with the potential to unleash a whole new range of future transformative applications.” He added that T-Mobile US “[looks]forward to bringing standalone 5G to our customers later this year.”

Vodafone UK also this week highlighted a new SA 5G network that utilizes Ericsson equipment.

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