Alcatel-Lucent introduces latest LTE radio access network portfolio

New digital baseband unit and radio frequency platform boost capacity and network performance while providing path to NFV and 5G as well as easier adaptation to changing market needs

Alcatel-Lucent introduces latest LTE radio access network portfolio

Alcatel-Lucent has launched a new portfolio of LTE radio access network technologies that will enable operators to make a smooth transition to next-generation network architectures, including the application of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and the introduction of 5G services.

The new LTE RAN portfolio aims to address the biggest challenge mobile operators will face in the near-future – the ability to meet demand for capacity-consuming data services such as video. 

In particular, Alcatel-Lucent’s new 9926 eNodeB – comprising a digital baseband unit and radio frequency (RF) platform - provides the flexibility to utilize existing radio spectrum and deliver the high-bandwidth LTE services needed to meet increasing demand. In the process, it allows operators to increase capacity and improve spectrum utilization more efficiently, while simplifying deployments and lowering costs.

The new digital baseband unit (BBU) will help operators balance operational costs while meeting increased demands by consuming 50% less energy and almost tripling existing capacity - supporting up to 24 radio cells and 16,000 users in one unit.

Supporting both LTE-TDD and LTE-FDD 4G technologies, the baseband unit can be deployed with existing BBUs, allowing operators to maximise existing investments in radio access technology.

The baseband unit has also been designed to allow operators to deploy a centralized network architecture, providing a smooth evolutionary path towards next-generation networks, including the implementation of virtualized RAN - or vRAN infrastructure - as well as the eventual launch of 5G networks. 

The portfolio’s RF platform is offered in an ergonomic, modular design optimised in terms of size, power, bandwidth, performance and reliability. Using common hardware and software assets across spectrum bands, it allows for simple adaptation to meet specific customer needs, reducing time-to-market and leveraging innovation developed for other bands or configurations.

Wideband capabilities allow operators to utilize fragmented spectrum, covering entire bands with one radio, while remote software configuration of transmission modes means it can easily and quickly be adapted in the field to meet changing market demands and traffic patterns 

Glenn Booth, Senior Vice President and General Manger of Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE Business Unit said: “Understanding our customers’ biggest challenges and delivering solutions to meet them better than anyone else is our mission.   

“Our refreshed RAN portfolio is targeted to meet exactly those challenges by addressing LTE networks densification particularly in urban environments in a sustainable and cost effective way.  This new platform also sets the stage for a smooth transition to a virtualized RAN and, ultimately, to a 5G family of solutions.” 

“Working closely with Alcatel Lucent, Freescale has created the industry’s highest-performance SoC solution enabling full basestation-on-chip functionality,” said Tom Deitrich, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Freescale’s Digital Networking group.  

“A multi-year, multi-generation hardware/software partnership is helping to deliver world-class network performance, throughput and capacity for Alcatel Lucent’s RAN portfolio.”

Alcatel-Lucent 9926 eNodeB: Technical Aspects

The Digital Baseband Unit (BBU):

  • Two new boards are introduced, both based on Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge B4860 base station-on-chip SoC.
  • No compromise in performance - BBU supports up to 24 cells (fully loaded at 20MHz) in a compact d2U chassis
  • Increases capacity of previous generation BBUs by 260%, while consuming up to 50% less power
  • Supports RAN sharing business models
  • Optimized for LTE-A, supporting carrier aggregation across FDD and TDD modes
  • Backwards-compatible with Alcatel-Lucent’s existing BBU chassis and current generation boards
  • Forwards-compatible with virtualized RAN architectures and BBU pooling
  • The new digital BBU is already deployed in a large-scale commercial TDD network application.

The Radio Frequency (RF) Platform:

  • Common building block assets across the TDD and the FDD Radio Units allows faster time-to-market
  • New power amplifier and filter technology designed to fit common interfaces allowing rapid development of new frequencies and band retuning
  • Small form factor, standardized interfaces across radios and reduced weight making it easy to install on site
  • Wideband/dual band capabilities provide support for multi-carrier or multi-band deployments in a single unit.
  • Remote software configuration of transmission modes (2T2R, 4T4R, 8T8R) enables operators to meet changing market demands.
  • The high output power (up to 160W) and wide bandwidth supported (up to 194MHz) greatly increases deployment flexibility
  • PIM-free blind mate connections allow operators to easily mix and match radios to support different active antenna configurations.
  • Cost-effective support for optimized low power RF interfaces to Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
  • Reliability/Fail Safe – provides soft fail redundancy in the power amplifier (PA) in the event that one fails
  • Supports RAN sharing business models
  • The TDD platform is already commercially deployed and the FDD platform will be made commercially available during Q1 2015.

 

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