lightRadio? Really?!

Bell Labs has unveiled its lightRadio cell site in a cube system.  It’s received a lot of press from around the world over the past few weeks about it being ‘THE NEXT BIG THINK TO KILL OFF TRADITIONAL CELL SITES.’

Well,  maybe not.

Digging a bit deeper into the apparent technology underpinning the system produces some interesting things to ponder.   To set the stage for what I think this lightRadio thing is all about, and how it fits into the grand scheme, first watch the video below of Tod Sizer, the head of the wireless group at Bell Labs, as he talks about developing the lightRadio antenna module. Then look at the chart below the video. When you’ve done that, then I’ll ‘resume’ this conversation.











As they say on TV, “Okay, we’re back…”

So what’s Mr. Sizer’s video tell us, and what does the chart mean?

Let’s start with Mr. Sizer’s video…  He talks about how the cubes can be stacked to provide directional signal control, similar to a macrocell site.  What’s not too clear is that each cube requires a backhaul connection using Internet Protocol (IP) back to…somewhere.  See the chart just above.

The deployment scheme is not too clear, but it sure looks like it has elements of DAS within it, or at least it seems closer to a DAS than it is to a self-contained macrocell or even a microcell.

Attention NextG, competition cleanup on aisle 5…

Given NextG’s history of suing where they believe someone is infringing on any shred of their DAS patents for network technology and deployment, I’ll just wait to see if they also think along the same lines I do regarding the possibility that the cube is really a micro DAS implementation.

This should be interesting, but it doesn’t appear to be the game-changer that the manufacturer would have us believe.

With apologies to Mr. Clemens, ‘Reports of macrocells’ deaths are greatly exaggerated.’



‘Mr. Gorbachev tear down this NextG pole!’

On January 10, Lori and Michael DiMarco of the Long Island Town of Brookhaven, New York found that they had a new neighbor in front of their home; a 40 foot tall black wireless antenna pole.

Who would perpetrate such a dastardly deed?  Who’s construction crew allegedly lied to the homeowner about what was being installed, and who authorized it?

According to published reports, NextG Networks (a distributed antenna system provider based here in California) admitted it erected the pole without a town permit on Jan. 10.

WBST TV reports that “[i]n a statement, NextG admitted they installed the tower without the proper permits, saying in effect that the town was taking too long to review their application.”

In the same report, WBST noted that “[a]fter the DiMarco’s complained about this cell tower on their front lawn, the town found out that 9 others had also popped up in the area, literally over night.”

What kind of fertilizer is NextG using to make these poles grow so quickly?  Hubris, perhaps?

WCBS Radio has a blog page and audio on this story, as well as a photograph by Mrs. DiMarco of the pole.

The North Shore Sun has its own story and photo regarding this usually ‘in-your-face’ event.

Here’s a link to a WCBS TV page about this event. The video, below, is from the WCBS page. (Sorry, but you’ll just have to watch the commercial before viewing the report.)

What I’d like to know is who is NextG’s customer (or customers) that prompted the installation of the DAS poles.


NextG Networks Sues Huntington Beach, California

NextG Networks of California, Inc, a provider of Distributed Antenna Site (DAS) wireless sites has sued the City of Huntington Beach. The suit, filed on December 27, 2007 in the Central District of California (Santa Ana district) bears case number SACV07-1471. The hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2008.

If you don’t have access to Pacer and would like a copy of the complaint, minus exhibits, please contact me using this form: