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lightRadio To Revolutionise Mobile Broadband Networks

Tue 08 Feb, 2011 // Firstnumber Team
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It has been hailed as the means to bridge the digital divide, and bring mobile broadband to the developing world. These are grand ambitions from such a small device.

lightRadio technology, developed by Alcatel-Lucent, will seriously reduce operating costs and spatial requirements. It's miniature dimensions and hi-tech capabilities form a perfect combination in which the device will be able to perform the same operations as the current system of base stations but with far smaller spatial implications.

The cube can be installed in any location with an electricity supply, and is able to connect via the internet or using microwave links to other processing units. Wim Sweldens, head of mobile business at Alcatel-Lucent, announced at a London conference that:

You can use fibre and put these cubes at the edge [of the fibre network] and connect them so that you can make a dramatic improvement in the area covered [by mobile broadband].

The new technology is predicted to become the eventual replacement for base-stations and cell towers, with significant growth in the market over the next few years. Such growth will be driven by governmental support for the deployment of the lightRadio technology, for whom the surfacing of the device has came at a crucial period in broadband expansion.

Much debate has been focused on the roll-out of fibre-optic cable across the UK, with uncertainty over cost and taxation levels dogging the process. The introduction of the lightRadio may provide an ideal solution to the problem of universal broadband targets and how best to meet them.

The cubes are able to provide 2G, 3G and 4G radio connections, and can be used individually or in clusters. Currently, around 20 of the lightRadio cubes would be needed to provide the equivalent coverage of a base-station. However, Alcatel-Lucent claim that the total cost of ownership to operators would be halved, as would the carbon footprint of mobile networks.

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