SOLiD intros mmWave 5G repeater, testing O-RAN compliant RAN platform
Earlier this year SOLiD Technologies joined the O-RAN Alliance in an effort to help shape the open interfaces needed to shift network economics and foster innovation in the RAN vendor space. Last week during Mobile World Congress Los Angeles, the company announced an O-RAN compliant SURF radio platform.
SOLiD President Ken Sandfeld, in an interview with RCR Wireless News, said the open RAN movement is gaining momentum. “We feel like it’s making really good progress, which is why we’re developing to the current spec. The panacea of being able to mix and match hardware and software is obviously not here yet, but it’s moving in the right direction.”
Sandfeld said the new platform is being tested in the U.S., Korea and Japan. “We’re building different options…and different configurations to basically test out how this will look from an installation standpoint, how it will look from a cost standpoint, and we’re also looking at a bunch of hybrid options on how we utilize the technology in different ways.”
Sandfeld reflected on the current vendor/Tier 1 operator paradigm and what it means for companies like SOLiD, as well as market dynamics that could open up the RAN vendor playing field.
“The carriers only like to work with the really big companies. We’re not one of those. We’re strong and obviously we provide to the Tier 1s…but they’re looking for large vendors. I think there’s a few points of entry that will help. Private LTE and CBRS is a great point of entry. We see it as a point of entry for our O-RAN products.”
He continued: “To the extent later that carriers are able to get PAL licenses on CBRS, they can go to their current vendors, the three big guys, or perhaps, since it’s a little more compartmentalized, they might start trying the O-RAN solutions in more compartmentalized, segmented parts of their network. They seem like they want to go that route.”
Also during MWC Los Angeles, SOLiD announced the RocketWAVETM5G off-air repeater platform for millimeter wave signal distribution in the 24 GHz, 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands, all key 5G bands in the U.S. and other major mobile markets.
“The reliance on an outdoor-to-indoor strategy for 5G mmWave coverage depends on the assumption that small cell sites on lower height poles and structures are readily available. EJL Wireless Research has proven this strategy to be flawed, given the state of 5G mmWave networks across the U.S. currently,” according to Earl J. Lum, founder and president, EJL Wireless Research.
Lum said, in a statement, that SOLiD’s solution “allows for the mobile operator to directly feed 5G millimeter wave signals indoors from off-air repeaters deployed on rooftops.”