Sprint's Magic Box adds network capacity and increases data speeds from the sky
Looking for a way to expand the reach of its 2.5GHz spectrum for up to 10 square miles (at least to start), Sprint has started testing its Magic Box as an aerial small cell solution. The Sprint Magic Box is a signal booster than when on the ground, increases download and upload speeds by as much as 200% within a range of 30,000 square feet. In the air, the Magic Box can connect on the ground with a Sprint cell site, COW (Cell on Wheels) or SatCOLT (Satellite Cell Site on Light Truck) to provide service to customers. Using a drone, the Magic Box is lifted as much as 400 feet in the air.
Sprint sees the aerial Magic Box as a quick and easy solution when more capacity and coverage is needed for large events, and when natural disasters like hurricanes shut down normal communications. This could allow an area struck by a hurricane to quickly regain cellular service. As yours truly learned recently from Irma and in years past with Hurricane Wilma, losing cellular connectivity tends to make a hurricane survivor feel alone, out of touch, and disconnected with the rest of the world.
An innovative service called LTE UE Relay allows for a wireless backhaul. Traditional backhaul connections to small cells require a physical cable, which is not realistic when the Magic Box is 400 feet up in the air. The service also uses dedicated 2.5GHz spectrum, which reduces noise; with the Magic Box in the sky, Sprint's network can bring its customers more data at faster speeds, compared to service without the airborne signal booster.
See for yourself how Sprint is turning to the skies to increase network capacity and speeds. Simply click on the video at the top of this story.