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Cellphones Networking Wireless Networking Hardware

Alcatel-Lucent Shrinks Mobile Cell Tower To Small Cube 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the sprinkle-lightly-over-entire-country dept.
pbahra writes "French mobile telephone infrastructure manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent today unveiled technology that shrinks a mobile cell tower to a box the size of a Rubik's cube, potentially changing the structure of the cellular network, reducing greenhouse emissions and bringing mobile broadband into new areas. According to Wim Sweldens, president of wireless activities for Alcatel-Lucent, by reducing the technology from something the size of a filing cabinet, networks would reduce the total cost of ownership by half, as well as halving the global CO2 emissions from the mobile industry — currently equivalent of 15 million cars a year."
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Alcatel-Lucent Shrinks Mobile Cell Tower To Small Cube

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  • by Animats (122034) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:49PM (#35128832) Homepage

    They have a microcell, one about the same size as everybody else's microcells. Big deal.

  • um... bad title? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:58PM (#35128936)
    The title says they reduced a cell TOWER to the size of a cube, then they show a picture of a guy holding a cube and say it replaces the filing cabinet behind him. Is the tower still required or no? Because I'm fairly sure than most of the cost in a cell tower is the land required by the tower and feeder trunks. If this doesn't replace either then it's pretty much worthless.
  • by Aqualung812 (959532) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:59PM (#35128950)

    From TFA:

    Other manufacturers have previously offered what are known as micro, femto or pico cell devices, which typically are used to take cellular traffic off congested 3G networks and delivered over broadband connections. Alcatel-Lucent claims their offering differs in that existing devices are mainly used to supplement existing cell towers in areas of high demand, such as railway stations and sports events, rather than replace them.

    Also, elsewhere in TFA they talk (without much detail) about how these devices scale from just two in small usage cases or can be stacked somehow to have the same number of connections as a full cell tower. Most microcells I've seen are only connecting double-digit subscribers, at best.

  • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:07PM (#35129022)
    I was installing something similar when working for NZ telecom mobile back in about 2000. It was a bit bigger (50cmX50cmX25cm IIRC) and we were using them as "main" towers. Not supplements. I am not surprised that they are than much smaller now.
  • Re:um... bad title? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:12PM (#35129074) Homepage

    The title says they reduced a cell TOWER to the size of a cube, then they show a picture of a guy holding a cube and say it replaces the filing cabinet behind him. Is the tower still required or no? Because I'm fairly sure than most of the cost in a cell tower is the land required by the tower and feeder trunks. If this doesn't replace either then it's pretty much worthless.

    There are two parts to this: smaller, modular baseband radios that can be (somehow, magically) clumped together so you can put the electronics in a central spot and minimize the 'shack' below the antenna mast and wider frequency antennas that minimize the number of 'funny rectangular things' hanging off the mast which, as a bonus, have an integral microwave amplifier. Sounds basically like they've managed to rackmount the radios and put the microwave amplifiers up in the mast so you don't lose as much power.

    Remember, cable losses at microwave frequencies is a big, big deal. I'm rather surprised that the amps haven't been mast mounted. Of course, TFA is light on useful details but it sounds like some reasonably advanced incremental engineering efforts.

  • by PhinMak (630548) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:38PM (#35129316) Homepage Journal
    Registered vehicles in the US: 250m ( Source 1 [wikipedia.org], Source 2 [google.com], Source 3 [bts.gov] ) Note that this includes all passenger vehicles such as SUVs, not just "cars".

    This is an important highlight because it confirms once again that power generation is a larger portion of the CO2 emission "pie" than that emitted by vehicles. So when folks talk about our need to implement CAFE or gas taxes etc in order to reduce CO2 emissions, I will continue to call it mis-direction and/or flat-out mindless drivel. Focus on the coal plants before you come after automobiles on this issue.

    I'll still listen you folks about OTHER reasons such as sending flaws inherent in sending cash to despotic regions for oil... or other pollutants... but CO2-crazies: STFU.

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