Why Many of the Newest Small-cell Products Are Radio Units – And Why It Matters

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

• Many of the newest small-cell products are radio units, coinciding with larger trends around C-RAN and 5G

• This trend poses challenges for the consolidating RAN-vendor landscape and could create opportunity for outsiders

Small cells, C-RAN and 5G are some of the most talked-about topics in mobile access infrastructure today, but how do they intersect? For starters, here’s one way:

Many of the most recently introduced small-cell products are actually radio units (RUs) that connect externally to baseband units (BBUs) rather than the all-in-one base stations (with BBU and RU in one box). Nokia, for example, announced its 2×5 W Metro RRH 2100 MHz in late 2014. Ericsson included the Micro Radio 2203 as part of the new Ericsson Radio System portfolio it unveiled in Q1 2015. ZTE introduced its R8402 “Pad RRU” around the same time. More recently, Huawei began promoting its 5 kg “Book RRU.” Continue reading “Why Many of the Newest Small-cell Products Are Radio Units – And Why It Matters”