Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Cube Hits the Streets

LightRadio cube

ALU’s LightRadio cube

July 30– It has been roughly a year and a half since Alcatel-Lucent turned the wireless world on its ear with the introduction of the lightRadio cube. But it was just a technology without a system. Late in June, the firm launched lightRadio Metro Cell Express, which uses the lightRadio 936x and 976x Metro Cell and Metro Radio portfolio, a small cell gateway (luh), interference mitigation techniques, and automatic configuration, as well as supporting open interfaces X2/S1 IOT.

Ted Abrams, principle, Abrams Wireless, personally experienced what he called the excellence of wireless service over the lightRadio cube in the convention facilities during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in February of this year.

“It worked very well. It was invisible, elegant,” Abrams told DAS Bulletin. “The call quality and network performance were excellent.”

Alcatel-Lucent pointed out that metro cells provide a much different deployment process from macrocells, with new challenges that must be met.

“To accomplish this, operators must not only rethink how they plan, design and implement their network, but must also redefine existing business relationships and partnerships, as well as form new ones,” Alcatel-Lucent said in a press release. “Only by treating the deployment of metro cells in a holistic manner can operators fully unlock the business benefits that metro cells offer.”

The lightRadio Metro Cell Express is designed to accelerate the deployment of wireless nodes, reduce operational and technical risks, and simplify operations and maintenance. But to help ensure that outcome, Alcatel-Lucent is providing operators with deployment assistance with site selection and acquisition, power and backhaul, and regulatory regulation and zoning requirements.

“Our commitment is to shoulder the burden of metro cell deployments by designing, installing, integrating and testing metro cell networks and only transferring operations back to the MNOs when the network is performing at a pre-agreed level of technical key performance indicators,” Alcatel-Lucent said. “This de-risks metro cell deployments for operators and gets them to high-capacity networks sooner, simpler and at scale.”

With mobile data traffic expected to grow 25 times by 2016, capacity obviously must be added to urban hotspots, but the key is being able to do it cost-effectively. The Bell Labs study showed that a W-CDMA macro and metro cell solution provides a 38 percent TCO savings compared with a W-CDMA macro-only solution. When LTE macro cells are deployed with W-CDMA and LTE metro cells, the five-year TCO is reduced by 45 percent, compared with deploying W-CDMA macro cells only.

At last year’s Mobile World Congress, Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, stirred a hornets’ nest when he said, “LightRadio will signal the end of the base station and the cell tower as we know it today.”

At the same conference, Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s wireless division, added that the miniaturized lightRadio technology would reduce the need for large towers with equipment shelters, which have gotten “bigger, heavier and uglier.” Probably losing him a few friends in the tower industry.

“We are quite an obstructing industry. We obstruct our views of cities and landscapes every day because we put more and more big towers up,” Sweldens said at a press conference.

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