Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s unique research and development arm, the new lightRadio system will dramatically reduce technical complexity and contain power consumption and other operating costs 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.
lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally 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, 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 basestations globally emit roughly 18,000,000 metric tons of CO2 per year). Also, lightRadio provides an alternative to today’s jungle of large overcrowded cell site towers by enabling small antennas anywhere.
- 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 eventually enable the easy creation of broadband coverage virtually anywhere there is power (electricity, sun, wind) by using microwave to connect back to the network.
- Offers major savings for operators: Thanks to lightRadio’s impact on site, energy, operations and maintenance costs; when combined with small cells and LTE, this new solution can lead to a reduction of total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile networks up to 50% (as a point of reference, Bell Labs estimates that TCO spent by mobile operators in mobile access in 2010 was 150 billion Euros).
Alain Maloberti, senior vice president, Network Architecture and Design, France Telecom/Orange said: “Alcatel-Lucent’s new vision and strategy of mobile broadband is quite exciting: the new wireless network architecture and innovative radio proposal will potentially help us to achieve significant operating cost savings and be better prepared for future challenges. We look forward to work closely with Alcatel-Lucent to explore and test this new approach.”
Tom Sawanobori, vice president, technology planning, Verizon Wireless, said: “Verizon looks forward to learning more about the benefits of lightRadio technology and how they could be applied as we continue to expand and evolve our LTE network.”
Alcatel-Lucent is also in advanced planning with China Mobile as well as a number of other carriers around the globe around co-creation and field trials of the lightRadio solution.
Alcatel-Lucent studies have concluded that the total addressable opportunity for the multi-technology radio market1, which lightRadio addresses, will be over 12 billion Euros in 2014, representing more than 55% of the total wireless RAN market. The cumulative total addressable market will be over 100 billion Euros from 2011-2018.