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Goodbye Cell Towers?

Posted by Bradley Wint on 16/02/2011

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For a few of us out there, we have to deal with the ugly sight of a cellular tower somewhere close to a neighbourhood or in a business area. Some companies have dressed up towers to look like trees or buildings to fit in with the environment, but what if those massive transmitters could be shrunk to the size of something that could be held in your hand?

Alcatel-Lucent is developing a tiny cube called the lightRadio cube which can be installed inside or outside out out of site, and can hook up to the telephone fiber optic system. The great thing about these little units is that is clearly won’t be ugly like those monstrosities currently poking beyond city buildings and housing developments. Interestingly enough, the cube transmitter also serves a more beneficial purpose of helping spread the load of connected cellphones.

Rather than having one tower in a certain area deal with the thousands of calls per second, the connections could then be split over the hundreds of cubes within a certain area, thus reducing the load on any one tower. The radios could be installed on street poles, buildings and other out of sight areas, but still having the same effectiveness of those big cell towers, once they are all combined on the network. What this means in the overall is that cell phones could handle larger chunks of data, and possibly help in improving the voice and data speeds for clearer calls and faster browsing.

Wim Sweldens, president of the wireless division of Alcatel-Lucent has this to say:

“We see more and more towers that become bigger and bigger, with more and bigger antennas that come to obstruct our view and clutter our landscape and are simply ugly.

“What we have realized is that we, as one of the major mobile equipment vendors, are partially if not mostly to blame for this.”

This has motivated them to go small, with benefits being seen all round.


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