‘lightRadio’ to deliver universal broadband, replace cell towers

February 8, 2011

Alcatel-Lucent announced Monday that it has developed lightRadio, a new mobile communication system intended to help deliver universal broadband coverage by replacing cell towers and base stations with small, easily mounted antennas.

The base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into antennas that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings, or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection. The idea is to lower owner cost and significantly increase bandwidth per mobile user, thanks to ubiquitous deployment of small antennas.

A small (less than 300 g) cube invented by Bell Labs that combines a wideband active-array antenna with fully software-defined radio capability.

The cube enables an active antenna as small as 2 watts to an array of typical cellular capacity (30-60 watts).

It can be deployed in big and small antenna configurations, all around the city. The cubes can be stacked to build a macro cell or used individually in a beam formation for targeted coverage.