Airspan building in support for massive MIMO, vRAN
Radio access network infrastructure vendor Airspan, perhaps best known for its work with Sprint on the Magic Box small cell, has tapped Qualcomm’s 10-nanometer FSM100xx 5G New Radio chipset for small cells and remote radio units. The FSM100xx supports 5G NR at millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz frequencies.
Airspan has deployed around 500,000 small cells that used the predecessor chip, the FSM99xx, including as part of Reliance Jio’s massive LTE network build in India.
Airspan’s Eli Leizerovitz, head of products, said in a statement the goal is to provide operators with a flexible portfolio. “Airspan’s 5G solutions are designed in a modular way that allows support for split architectures, for both outdoor and indoor use cases.”
In November last year, Airspan announced its acquisition of Mimosa Networks, a Santa Clara, California-based specialist in hybrid fiber-wireless solutions. At the time, Airspan Vice President of Strategy of Marketing Damiano Coletti called the deal a “natural fit. They have a great distribution channel and a great set of award-winning products. It’s no secret we’re both portfolio companies, so there were obvious synergies there.”
Qualcomm released the FSM100xx last year during the Small Cells World Summit in London. The chipmaker highlighted how the broad frequency support would let OEMs reuse small cell form factors while still supporting the needs of operators deploying 5G in a variety of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum. The software-defined modem also allows for a comparatively easy upgrade process to support future 3GPP releases.
Airspan also leads the AutoAir consortium, which recently demoed the first application of independently operated 5G for connected and autonomous vehicles. Backed by a £4.1 million grant from the U.K. government, Airspan and consortium partners equipped a track in Millbrook with 77 base stations, including 23 small cells, to connect vehicles moving around the track. In the Feb 12 demo, live 4K video was streamed at 1 Gbps from vehicles back to a bus carrying partners and media.
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