Alcatel-Lucent Shrinks Base Stations to Size of a Rubiks Cube
Alcatel-Lucent today announced a new base station technology that it believes will have a huge impact on how wireless networks are run in the coming years. Its new lightRadio base station reduces the size, cost, and power requirements significantly. The lightRadio has several components. First, it takes the disparate 2G, 3G, and LTE antenna designs and has merged them into a single multi-frequency, multi-standard Wideband Active Array Antenna, which Alcatel-Lucent says can be mounted just about anywhere. Second, the lightRadio Cube contains a diplexer type, radio, amplifier, and passive cooling system in a very small enclosure (small enough to fit in a hand). Third, the new technology uses a System-on-a-Chip architecture that can dynamically manage traffic wherever it has the resources to do so (i.e., in the antenna itself or in the cloud). It also uses new compression technology and virtualization software to help manage controllers and gateways. According to Alcatel-Lucent, the lightRadio requires only electricity and a broadband connection to work, and power needs will be halved compared to conventional base stations. A number of wireless network operators — including Verizon Wireless — will be trialling the technology in the second half of this year.
So what does this mean for us?