Alcatel-Lucent ‘LightRadio’ for mobile broadband

Mobile phone base stations no bigger than a golf ball could help bring mobile broadband to distant areas both in the developing and developed world, Alcatel-Lucent has claimed.

The company said that its new technology, which shrinks many of the functions of a standard base station down to a few chips which fit in a cube it calls “lightRadio”, would mean that mobile networks could run their systems with lower power demands and half the cost overall, while broadening deployment.

The “lightRadio” technology, which will be tested by a number of mobile operators around the world including Orange, Verizon in the US and the world’s largest network, China Mobile, could halve network operating costs and do the same for power demands, said Wim Sweldens, head of the company’s mobile business at a presentation in London.

The base stations can be installed wherever there is electricity, and can then connect either over an Internet connection or via microwave links to processing units elsewhere. That reduces the space needed to deploy the systems and means they can be put almost anywhere, said Sweldens. “The need for a base station pretty much goes away.” The new lightRadio cubes would also be able to cover the same area as existing stations, Alcatel-Lucent said.

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