Archive for February 7th, 2011

Article from GigaOm.

“The crush of smartphones, tablets and laptops all vying for ever more bandwidth intense content, has forced mobile operators to beef up their backhaul, rally for more spectrum and implement new network technologies. It’s also reshaping the way they think and build out their networks. Or it will. Last week, I had outlined the the demand for data combined with more people wanting access to the mobile web are forcing operators to add more diverse network technologies, such as Wi-Fi, picocells and femtocells and of course more base stations, which are all of their effort to build more creative pricing plans.

Essentially the current networks and airwaves are unable to meet the demands of millions of consumers trying to download YouTube ( s goog) videos and Posting pictures to their Facebook profiles. Carriers have already embraced Wi-Fi offload but the thought is even that won’t be enough. Plus adding Wi-Fi, and even smaller base stations such as pico cells or even femtocells adds complexity to the network.

As I said in my previous article: “But multiple networks and more base stations, as well as more demand, are forcing operators to undergo a shift similar to what the data center saw as the demand for computing began to overwhelm the profits and abilities of systems administrators to handle it. For example, when it took one person to manage 10 servers, owning 500 was an investment, but now with corporations owning tens of thousands, such a ratio would constrain demand. So places that required a lot of computing adapted and came up with new architectures and software that helped become the redundant, autonomic and cloud-based computing centers familiar today.That same shift will have to happen in the mobile networks, and Intucell is just one company that will help make this shift a reality.”

My previous article focused on Intucell, a startup that’s pushing a technology to help operators reconfigure their networks in real time. There are other startups aiming to address this space, whether it’s with an all-in-one chip design that can work on multiple radio frequencies inside a base station or companies trying to deliver real-time pricing and billing information to operators. But the big gear makers aren’t oblivious to this trend, and today Alcatel-Lucent announced its lightRadio suite of products that answers many of the needs mobile operators have.

With this launch, Alcatel-Lucent has fundamentally rethought the way cellular networks are built. Instead of the traditional model of multiple radios and antennas cluttering up a large cellular tower with cabinets of electronics connected back to the web via a fiber or hardwired backhaul pipe, it has built smaller antennas attached to a single radio that can send and receive Wireless signals using multiple radio technologies including 4G 3G and some 2G technologies. These are then connected back to the network via microwave backhaul and the processing required to separate and route signals occurs deeper inside the network rather than at the base station.”

Read the whole article here.

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