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Mobile Broadband: smart, small new 3G/4G cell preview

Here’s a preview of one of the innovations featured at next week’s Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! free global online event, 28-29 June 2011. It’s a new small, intelligent cellular radio unit from Alcatel-Lucent called lightRadio™. This is a guest post introducing the innovation and describing how it came about.

light radio image telco 2.0 june 2011.png

Big ideas often arrive out of the blue, sometimes as a result of questioning the impossible. Alcatel-Lucent’s latest wireless innovation — lightRadio™ — is one such idea.

When the company’s Bell Labs researchers started asking how they could make mobile network base stations smaller, easier to deploy and less power-hungry, they came up with a modular radio and antenna that could be arranged freely, like Lego™ blocks.

Stack eight of them together to point a beam in a particular direction to provide coverage indoors. Or stack two of them by ten high, and get a macro cell for an outdoor antenna.

To do this meant compressing all the radio hardware and the antenna into a 6x6cm cube, which could be used as a small cell, so small that it becomes almost invisible. At first, this seemed impossible. After three months of development, the Bell Labs teams in Germany and Ireland came back with the lightRadio “cube.” They rendered the “impossible” possible.

lightRadio is not just a single innovation — it is not just the cube. It is a suite of innovations that integrate wireless and wireline networks in a way that will solve mobile operators’ future connectivity and capacity challenges. Most importantly, the technology has been co-developed with customers all around the world.

The potential benefits of lightRadio are many — from extending the benefits of mobile broadband to populations currently undeserved, to making unsightly antennas and towers a thing of the past, to relieving network congestion cost-effectively, to reducing some of the 18 million metric tons of CO2 that our industry releases each year.

Watch Best Practice Live! on June 29 and hear from Valérie Layan, VP Wireless Solutions & Marketing EMEA at Alcatel-Lucent, more about this surprising answer to an impossible question.

There’s more on lightRadio at www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio

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