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China Mobile signs up for ALU's cloud RAN vision

Joins Orange to support new lightRadio architecture, while ALU expands small cells range


Published: 15 February, 2011

READ MORE: China | Alcatel-Lucent | Femtocell

Alcatel-Lucent has used the stage of Mobile World Congress to establish itself as a leader in the revolution in network design, putting small cells and cloud-based RANs at the heart of its strategy. Along with NEC, it is highlighting the new ways to build a 4G network, and though some of ALU's new lightRadio roadmap remains futuristic, some major carriers are signing up. Orange UK is to trial lightRadio, and now the supplier has announced a collaboration with China Mobile to develop a network based on the latest mobile acronym, C-RAN (Cloud-based RAN).

This aims to enhance current trends for supporting multiple air interfaces in a single architecture, providing a common platform for GSM, TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE, in a way that the partners say could reduce opex by up to 50% and capex by 15%. It will exploit lightRadio, which integrates the antenna and radio, and relies on a high degree of baseband processing in the cloud.

Rajeev Singh-Molares, president of ALU's Asia-Pacific division, said: "The partnership with China Mobile is directly addressing the challenges of high energy costs, explosion of mobile video, and sustainable development. By helping them replace traditional network designs with flexible cloud-like architectures, we are preparing the future in terms of technology and economic models."

ALU also outlined its small cells strategy, spanning indoor femtocells and enterprise or outdoor mini-base stations. It broadened its 9360 Small Cells range with models for indoor and outdoor high-traffic metro areas, such as shopping malls, plus the second generation of its 9362 Enterprise Cell. The company also showed off its concept for the 9361 Home Cell X-Series, which offers USB-powered small cells to support eight simultaneous users.

"In the context of the lightRadio approach, there is a strong continuum between the deployment of small and macro cells in order to establish converged, IP-based, flexible and smart networks," said Wim Sweldens, head of ALU's wireless division, in a statement. "Our ongoing small cells innovations are crucial to the creation of this new, more powerful mobile network architecture - bringing major coverage, capacity and services benefits to service providers and subscribers alike."

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