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Smoke detector sized base station takes on Small Cell market

Posted: 27 Sep 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ericsson? cellular networks? wireless infrastructure? base station?

Ericsson recently unveiled the Radio Dot System, a base station radio the size of a smoke detector. The company's latest base station is designed to significantly lower the costs of deploying indoor cellular networks and also aims to disrupt on of the fastest growing market in wireless infrastructure pegged at $4 billion by 2018.

The Radio Dot is a simplified 3G/LTE antenna unit with an amplifier and power amp. It uses a proprietary Ericsson interface to connect over standard office Category 5/6/7 cables to an indoor base station that handles most of the signal processing.

Using the approach, a single base station linked to as many as 96 Radio Dots could cover a large office or hospital. By employing existing office LAN cabling rather than fibre optic cables, Ericsson claims the system can save up to 60 per cent of cable costs and cut installation time by 70 per cent.

The 300g Dots emit 100mW effective radiated power each to cover 500 to 800m with higher power versions in the works. They appear to the base station as one large cell and allow handovers between Dots for users moving inside a building.

 Radio Dot System

The 300 gram Dot emits 100mW ERP to cover 500-800m.

Ulf Ewaldsson, Ericsson's chief technology officer, said that when in LTE mode the system reduces interference in conventional indoor systems, saving carrier spectrum. For example, the system can use the LTE Release 10 Coordinated Multipoint feature to support data transfers using parallel transmissions from small and macro cells, expediting the delivery of large files such as a YouTube video.

Radio Dot has been in development for two years and is backed up by 14 patents, many of them on its cabled interface. "We think this will redefine the small cell space," said Ewaldsson.

Many small cells integrate radio and base band functions. But that makes upgrades more expensive when base band standards change, he added.

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