Ericsson Radio Dot System: Where No Cell Signal Has Gone Before

When it comes to cell phone service, the average office building might as well be Superman’s Fortress of Solitude—hardly anything gets in or out. But the frustrated cries of office workers in cellular distress have not gone unheard; Swedish telecom giant Ericsson is flying to the rescue with a solution. They call it the Radio Dot System.

The Radio Dot System

Ericsson’s Radio Dot System is the latest in small cell technology, designed to relay cellular signal into those “dead zones” or weak signal spots that often occur in large buildings. The relay points, or Dots, are lightweight discs that resemble small smoke detectors—and they’re just as unobtrusive. Each one broadcasts high quality mobile broadband (actual cellular signal, not just a substitute) to the surrounding environment and can provide coverage to an entire floor, while drawing all the power that it needs through the network cable that links it to the others.

“That’s the second biggest aspirin I’ve ever seen!”

In each system, the Dots connect back to a single base station. The base station acts as the system antenna; it picks up the cellular signal from carriers and transmits it to the network of Dots, like a technological bucket brigade. And what’s really appealing about the Radio Dot System is that it’s completely scalable, with each network capable of supporting up to 96 Dots on a single base station, so businesses of all sizes can benefit from it. With enough Dots, you can amplify signal throughout a large building, a shopping mall, or an arena.

Dot Dot Dot

While it may not be as earth-shattering as Ericsson’s overdramatic commercial makes it seem, the Radio Dot System is an innovative solution to a common problem. It’s also fast and easy to implement, thanks to the size of the Dots. Ericsson makes the bold claim that their system “can be deployed 70% faster than current solutions and reduces cabling costs by 60 percent,” though they don’t specify whether that figure includes the reuse of existing LAN cables. An overall price tag has yet to be announced, but that may depend on the carriers who are offering the solution.

Another advantage of the Radio Dot System is that it is more future-proof than contemporary solutions. It can support data speeds of up to 150 Mbps—three times the speed of 4G LTE—and has the capacity for easy upgrades. With data usage soaring, that’s a necessity. According to Ericsson’s news post, “the problem of indoor connectivity will increase in the coming years, with mobile data traffic projected to increase 12 times by 2018.”

Ericsson plans to make the Radio Dot System available in the latter half of 2014. What do you think its impact will be?


Photo credit: Ericsson

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Brent Urmey is an avid reader and writer on a variety of subjects, including social media, SEO, the Wireless industry, and life in Lancaster County, PA. He is a graduate of Drexel University and a survivor of the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. You can connect with Brent on Google +.