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Startup Brews an LTE Small Cell Storm

It's more base stations on lampposts for LTE, but has this startup cracked the small cell management nut?

Michelle Donegan

May 16, 2011

2 Min Read
Startup Brews an LTE Small Cell Storm

Meet the newest kid on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) small cell block: Wazco.

The startup launched on Monday what it claims is the industry's first multi-sector small cell LTE base station, called MetroStorm, ahead of the LTE World Summit, which is going on this week in Amsterdam.

The MetroStorm product is built on LTE baseband processors from Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD), baseband modules from Interphase Corp. , radio frequency (RF) transceivers from DataSoft, and self-organizing network (SON) technology from AirHop Communications Inc.

Here's the clever bit: Wazco has taken LTE base station technology and put it with an active antenna array (that also integrates the power amplifiers); then it has added SON capabilities. The unit is so small it can fit inside the lamp of a lamppost. And when many of these small cells are deployed in so-called MetroStorm Clusters, they are managed by AirHop's SON technology so that they appear to a mobile operator's core network as just one base station.

Wazco's first target markets are the U.S. and India, where the small cells can be deployed to boost LTE capacity in densely populated urban or rural areas. In the U.S., in particular, the company is looking to target LTE public safety networks.

Why this matters
It's the SON network management feature that makes MetroStorm intriguing because network management is a big pain barrier operators will have to break through in order to get the benefits of LTE small cells. As Wazco Chairman and CEO Mike Nasco puts it, "Small cells are the next big thing and managing them is going to be the tricky part."

This is also a new twist on Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets). (See Get Hip to the HetNet.)

For more
Small cells, HetNets and SON are bound to be buzzing in Amsterdam this week. Here are the latest developments to get up to speed:

  • TI Muscles In on Small Cells

  • Infonetics: Still Early in the Game for LTE Small Cells

  • Study: Small Cells to Dominate 4G

  • MWC 2011: The End of the RAN as We Know It?

  • Ericsson's Small Cells Come Up for AIR

  • AlcaLu: We're Killing the Base Station

  • 4G Startup Revs LTE Automation



— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Michelle Donegan

Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry for the last 20 years on both sides of the Pond. Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and, most recently, Light Reading.  

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