Alcatel-Lucent has developed a cheaper alternative to cell phone towers with its broadband boosting lightRadio Cube. The company says the device will keep providers ahead of the growing demand of network bandwidth: “The Alcatel-Lucent lightRadioâ„¢ Network does what traditional cellular networks can no longer do: put you ahead of your customers’ thirst for mobile bandwidth.”
The device is about the size of a Rubik’s cube and looks to replace large, expensive cell towers. Due to its small size the device can be mounted just about anywhere, turning buildings, light poles, any structure with a power source into cell phone towers. The device is said to be 35-50% less expensive than standard cell towers, and aside from being much easier to maintain, the new technology reduces energy consumption of current mobile networks up to 50%.
The biggest perk of the lightRadio Cube is that it allows providers to more easily expand their networks as they grow. When bandwidth increases dramatically in any given area, instead of having to start on the lengthy and expensive construction of a new cell tower, a one man team can secure the appropriate number of lightRadio Cubes, which are designed to be stackable, to any structure within the affected area. The Alcatel-Lucent website points out that using a smaller, inexpensive device means areas that lacked coverage completely will more readily be able to enjoy a wireless broadband network.
When it become easier for carriers to implement wireless broadband infrastructure, and that infrastructure becomes much less costly to maintain, ideally customer data plans will become more affordable. Overall it seems like a win-win for both sides of the industry. Networks won’t have to worry about the currently expensive costs of increasing bandwidth through building infrastructure, and punishments for customers who use excessive amounts of data could, in the future, be less severe.
So far Alcatel-Lucent has Europe and Latin America mobile giant Telefonica on board as part of lightRadio’s co-creation program, and recently announced co-development with United Arab Emirate provider, Etisalat, and China’s biggest mobile company, China Mobile.