Alcatel-Lucent has announced that the Smart-RF research project undertaken by a consortium of companies led by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm, achieved a major breakthrough for base station deployment. The group developed the technical foundation for a new reconfigurable radio frequency transmitter capable of supporting different wireless standards within a single radio frequency band.

A programmable radio module will help network operators to deploy their base stations more flexibly. This is an advantage when they roll out new wireless standards such as future generations of LTE mobile broadband technology or accommodating new spectrum allocations. This will provide an effective solution for mobile operators as they evolve their networks to meet customers’ growing demands for the latest services and applications, in a cost-efficient manner.

Reprogrammable radio modules mean that fewer hardware variants are required for base stations, the primary element of radio access networks (RAN). This means significantly greater flexibility compared with current commercial single-RAN and converged-RAN solutions, which generally accommodate individual frequency specific radio modules within a base station.

Dr. Andreas Pascht, who is responsible for transceiver technologies at Bell Labs said: “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.”