Ericsson and IBM have entered a collaboration to research phased-array antenna technologies required for 5G networks.
The companies will work to develop prototype systems capable of servicing more users and offering new services to customers at speeds an order of magnitude faster than existing networks.
IBM and Ericsson will seek to develop directional antennas that are electrically-steerable. They aim to develop technologies that can integrate around 100 antennas and radios on a single chip smaller than a credit card.
Ericsson said it believes next-generation antenna technology will be a vital component of 5G networks, fulfilling the requirement of improving data capacity to each user while also incorporating a larger number of users.
“We are working to solve the size barrier and look forward to developing antenna technology with IBM that will open up possibilities for new uses,” Ericsson head of product management radio Thomas Norén said.
Even the form factor of the company's recent tablet-sized small cell was limited by the interior components, he said.
“This research collaboration will help us enable mobile network builds that provide the right coverage and capacity even in the densest urban environment.”
The mobile industry is devoting increasing attention to 5G as the date when commercial 5G products are expected to arrive – 2020 – gets closer.