Alcatel-Lucent was acquired by Nokia for $16.6 Billion with the transaction completed in January 2016.
Headquartered in Paris, France and with annual revenues of 16 Billion Euros, this global vendor of mobile network infrastructure, handsets, DSL modems and WiFi access points was well placed to have all the components for a solution available inhouse. Their femtocell solution was selected by Vodafone UK for their commercial launch on 1 July 2009, the first European femtocell commercial deployment. They have been one of the largest and most successful small cell solution providers worldwide, with over 50 commercial contracts and deployments in 38 countries.
Alcatel-Lucent have been involved from an early stage in pioneering and developing a complete femtocell solution.
Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, the primary innovator behind today's cellular network technology, formulated the idea of a femtocell in 2000 as a means to improve spectral efficiency and to provide ubiquitous and reliable coverage indoor and as users move between indoor and outdoor locations. And this early development, together with our work on 3GPP, led to Alcatel-Lucent's first generation product, the 9365 Base Station Router Femto in 2007. Building on femtocell technology, today, Alcatel-Lucent serves a broad market with its small cells portfolio. According to their own classification of the market, the company develops products for residential use, enterprise use (including Large, SMB and SOHO) and public indoor/outdoor use (including urban/data hotspots and rural coverage).
Many operators partnered with Alcatel-Lucent to deploy small cell solutions, including more than 10 Vodafone subsidiaries, Sprint in the United States, Telefonica Spain, Etisalat and du in the United Arab Emirates, Megafon and Vimpelcom in Russia with a further 20+ trials in progress elsewhere. Alcatel-Lucent has also collaborated with China Mobile on co-development of the TD-LTE Metro Radio which was recognized at MWC 2013 with the award for "Innovative Solution" from the Global TD-LTE Initiative.
The Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio™ 9360 and 9760 small cell product portfolio addressed the full scope of small cell use cases, from residential, enterprise and public indoor/outdoor spaces, including urban hotspot capacity uplift and rural coverage enhancement, along with the company's award winning Metro Cell Express solution, small cell Gateway and OA&M solutions. The capacity (e.g. number of concurrent calls) and range (e.g. RF power) vary with each product.
A sample of the range is shown below.
Alcatel-Lucent's small cells solution for the home includes the 9361 Home Cell V2, its internally developed product for the residential market as well as its Software Licensing program, known as 'Soft Cell'. The company has developed a partnership with Broadcom to deliver the reference design and is working with ZyXEL, Askey and Netgear to deliver the consumer products, which incorporate Alcatel-Lucent small cell software.
9361 Home Cell V2 (left), supports up to 4 HSPA users with simultaneous voice and data, is designed for 'plug and play' installation, maximum output transmit power of 20mW.
Below (left to right): Askey Home Cell, Netgear Gateway and ZyXEL Small Cell/CPE
Alcatel-Lucent's small cell solution for enterprises includes the 9362 Enterprise Cell V2.1, a lower power, eight user maximum unit, designed to reach the SOHO market and the 9362 Enterprise Cell V2.2, supporting between 8 and 32 users, 100mW or 250mW transmit power and optional external antennas; best targeted at SMBs and corporate environments in either a single use case or in a group of cells to cover a larger enterprise. The company also has LTE products under development.
Below (left to right): 9362 Enterprise Cell V2.1 and 9362 Enterprise Cell V2.2
Alcatel-Lucent's small cell solutions for capacity and coverage in public spaces includes the 9764 family of outdoor metro cells (MCO), which is based on a unique configuration including a MCO Module, a Metro Dock and an optional Wi-Fi AP Module and covers a variety of capacities and ranges. The portfolio also includes the 9768 Metro Radio Outdoor LTE and TD-LTE products along with the Metro Cell Express solution which encompasses the range of metro cells along with the company's tailored responses to the challenges operators face in deploying metro cells.
Below (left to right): 9764 WCDMA MCO and 9764 LTE MCO
Metro Cell Backhaul
One of the challenges associated with the deployment of small cells is how to provide scalable, flexible mobile backhaul to connect small cells back into the network, without breaking the business case. Alcatel-Lucent has expanded its array of mobile backhaul solutions to address small cell backhaul, and in particular, to address the challenges associated with backhauling metro cells (backhaul is also bundled into the Metro Cell Express solution).
Metro Cell Network Realisation: Get to Market Faster
- HetNet ACE: Site selection service that helps operators quickly and efficiently scale large deployments. Precisely identifies optimal cell site location, calculate off load potential and provide TCO analysis.
- RITC: Remote integration and Test Center (RITC) automates the integration of metro sites, ensuring deployment is plug-and-play.
- Spider: a modeling tool to design, optimize, and transform backhaul networks ensuring top reliability and performance for macro and small cell networks
Nokia aquired Alcatel-Lucent in January 2016 following which product rationalisation follows.
ThinkSmallCell interview with David Swift, Senior Manager for market positioning, speaking to us about Metrocells in 2012.