Along comes Alcatel-Lucent, which demoed today a 3G/LTE base station that is essentially a cube with two inches side, called lightRadio. The radio inside is software defined, so it can be programmed to cover frequencies from 400Mhz to 4GHz, and beam twice the bits of data to your smartphone than usual.
The lightRadio can be placed and serve its base station duties anywhere (poles, sides of buildings) with electricity and Internet to disperse wireless broadband, and combining several can give the reach of a large traditional unit. Not only that, but "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%". This is achieved both by lowering the network equipment costs, and by reducing the total power consumption, hence the carbon footprint.
The market for a lightRadio type of miniaturized base station technology is projected to explode to $16 billion in the next five years, because some of the largest carriers in the world like China Mobile, Orange and Verizon Wireless have shown interest, and are testing the technology this year. Verizon will definitely need the savings after splurging on its gigantic LTE network bet.
The lightRadio bite-sized gizmo can be used on your home as your personal wireless base station - just don't play fetch with it and your dog, you might lose signal.
source: Alcatel-Lucent via Reuters