Telecom Lead America: Alcatel-Lucent announced that the
Smart-RF research project – undertaken by a consortium of companies led by Bell
Labs – achieved a major breakthrough for base station deployment.
The group developed the technical foundation for a new
reconfigurable radio frequency (RF) transmitter capable of supporting different
wireless standards within a single radio frequency band.
A programmable radio module is designed to help network
operators deploy their base stations more flexibly. This is an advantage when
they roll out new wireless standards – such as future generations of long term
evolution (LTE) mobile broadband technology – or accommodating new spectrum
Moreover, reprogrammable radio modules mean that fewer
hardware variants are required for base stations, the primary element of radio
access networks (RAN). This means greater flexibility compared with current
commercial single-RAN and converged-RAN solutions, which generally accommodate
individual frequency specific radio modules within a base station.
“The results of the project show that carriers will
be able to operate mobile communications networks with greater flexibility than
ever before. Hardware with the versatility to cover various wireless standards
and carrier frequencies gives them the flexibility to decide which standards
and frequencies are most suitable for a given deployment,” said Andreas
Pascht, who is responsible for transceiver technologies at Bell Labs,
Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm.
This project is part of a continuum of research being
conducted by Bell Labs into future architectures for mobile networks, including
the breakthrough lightRadio portfolio of products.
The Smart-RF research project began in May 2007 and was
funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The
consortium has been led by Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and consisted of
Kathrein, Rohde & Schwarz, Deutsche Telekom, Signalion, Fraunhofer
Institute for Telecommunications Heinrich Hertz Institute (FhG-HHI) and the
Department of Microwave Engineering of the Technical University of Berlin.