[LINK] Wireless advances could mean no more mobile towers

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Tue Feb 15 09:54:46 AEDT 2011

On 2011/Feb/15, at 9:22 AM, Richard Chirgwin wrote:

> On 15/02/11 2:47 AM, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
>>>>>> Alcatel-Lucent will be at the show to demonstrate its "lightRadio
>>>>>> cube", a cellular antenna about the size and shape of a Rubik's cube
>> http://www.alcatel-lucent.com (snip)
>> Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: "lightRadio is a smart
>> solution to a tough set of problems: high energy costs, the explosion of
>> video on mobile, and connecting the unconnected."
>> Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Promises Greener, Simpler, Lighter Networks:
>> PARIS and LONDON, February 7, 2011 -- Alcatel-Lucent today announced
>> lightRadio^(TM), a breakthrough in mobile and broadband infrastructure that
>> streamlines, and radically simplifies, mobile networks.
>> Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent's unique research and development
>> arm, the new lightRadio system will dramatically reduce technical
>> complexity, and power consumption, in the face of sharp traffic growth.
>> This is accomplished by taking today's base stations and massive cell
>> site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to
>> maintain elements in the network, and radically shrinking and simplifying
>> them.
>> "To survive and thrive, service providers must evolve network designs,
>> embrace small cell sites and all-IP architectures and replace traditional
>> network designs with flexible cloud-like architectures that can truly
>> meet the data demands of the future."
>> lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station,
>> typically located at the base of each cell tower, is broken into its
>> components elements, and then distributed into both the antenna and
>> throughout a cloud-like network.
>> Today's clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined
>> and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency,
>> multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on
>> poles, the sides of buildings, or anywhere else there is power and a
>> broadband connection.
>> Alcatel-Lucent's new lightRadio product family, of which initial elements
>> ready to begin customer trials in the second half 2011, provides the
>> following benefits:
>> * Improves the environment: lightRadio reduces energy consumption of
>> mobile networks by up to 50% over current radio access network equipment.
>> As a point of reference, Bell Labs research estimates that base stations
>> globally emit roughly 18,000,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
>> * Addresses digital divide: By reducing the cell site to just the
>> antenna, and leveraging future advances in microwave backhaul and
>> compression techniques, this technology will enable the easy creation of
>> broadband coverage virtually anywhere there is power (electricity, sun,
>> wind) by using microwave to connect back to the network.
>> By moving former basestation components to a System on a Chip (SOC),
>> lightRadio places processing where it fits best in the network -- whether
>> at the antenna or in the cloud.
>> The economics of radio networks are substantially improved by reducing
>> the number and cost of fiber pairs required to support the traffic
>> between the antenna and the centralized processing in the cloud.
>> Matching of load to demand through 'elastic' controller capacity,
>> delivered on sets of distributed and shared hardware platforms, will
>> improve cost, availability, and performance of wireless networks.
>> Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: "lightRadio is a smart
>> solution to a tough set of problems: high energy costs, the explosion of
>> video on mobile, and connecting the unconnected."
> The basis of comparison is very important. The new network might deliver 
> the same functionality as today's networks by 50%.
> Deployment of towers is, however, constrained by cost, community 
> opposition, and what's paid for the real estate. Remove those 
> constraints, and the network gets bigger. At what point does the smaller 
> base station fail to counterbalance the growth in base station numbers?

They deploy base stations on multi-storey buildings.  I expect the building owners get something for this.  With small base stations they could be deployed on top of people's houses.  Of course you would have to get connection to those houses and the connection of choice would be fibre!!  

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
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