Tiny Cube Cuts Mobile Phone Cost — Coming Soon
Lightradio is a small square device about the size of a Rubik’s cube, designed by Alcatel-Lucent. The device is essentially a cell phone tower enclosed in a 2.3 inch block, consuming 1.5 watts of power, powering a two-block radius. Alcatel-Lucent knows that the global wireless industry is spending 210 billion dollars a year to operate their networks and a quarter of that to upgrade them. Meanwhile, mobile data is expected to grow 30-fold in the next five years and 500-fold in the next ten years.
Alcatel-Lucent believes the solution to providing service to all these new customers is a hybrid form of miniaturization and cloud technology. Lightradio’s purpose was to be able to deploy the cubes anywhere and in anyplace to provide service for all. What’s so great about this tiny piece of technology is that you can attach it in any place and allow it to remain hidden. The device can be attached atop of lamp posts, busses, and existing building ledges, eliminating the cost of heavy construction. In addition, the small size lets wireless companies control the cubes virtually and makes the antennas 30% more efficient than current cell towers. The compact device will be able to relay 2G, 3G, and 4G network signals from the same cube, thereby cutting down interference and doubling the number of bits that can be sent.
The Lightradio trials will begin in September of 2011, and they are set to go in production by 2012. Sprint will be the first on board to test drive these cubes. For areas that will require a deeper signal, such as stadiums, the blocks can be stacked upon one another to provide a greater signal.