After a few years of false starts, we might actually be able to say that 2012 is the start of the age of the small cell. The tiny base stations appear to be finding their niche in the network at this year's Mobile World Congress show.
- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s lightRadio small cell is arguably the "iPhone of infrastructure" at the show in Barcelona.
- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) said Tuesday that its getting big into small cells.
- Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD), meanwhile, is delivering 4G LTE small cells for a KT Corp. deployment around Seoul and beyond.
Now in their second act -- or is it third? -- as small cells, the little radios get their chance to shine as the edge of the network beacons that help retain LTE speeds in crowded urban areas and facilitate ambitious plans for cloud services that can deliver your business and personal content anywhere and everywhere.
That's the hope anyway. In reality there's an awful lot of spending and development to be done before you get to walk under your own ubiquitous cloud. For now, however, it seems that small cells are one of the only ways for such services to even approach such lofty goals.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile