Intel Inside LTE Small Cells

U.K.-based femtocell maker Ubiquisys Ltd. has partnered with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) to add smarts and processing power to its new range of dual-mode 3G/LTE small cells.

In a strategic partnership announced on Wednesday, Ubiquisys will incorporate Intel's Atom or Xeon processors into the new small cells, which are powered by baseband chipsets from Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN). (See TI Muscles In on Small Cells and TI, Ubiquisys Do Small Cells.)

According to Ubiquisys CTO Will Franks, Intel brings an ecosystem of applications, powerful computing power and storage capabilities to the small cells, which are designed for outdoor or indoor public hot spots.

Why do 3G or LTE small cells need such computing power? The idea is that by processing more content and applications locally -- that is, closer to the users in the radio access network (RAN) -- that will help operators to manage data traffic on their networks.

For example, local content can be cached in the small cells with Intel's storage capability. That would reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent across the network, which should help operators save on backhaul transport costs. Ubiquisys is looking to store a minimum of 100GB of data in a small cell.

Reference designs will be available to equipment manufacturers in 2012.

Why this matters
This partnership exemplifies a new technology development aimed at helping mobile operators cope with surging data traffic on their networks, whether they are 3G operators needing capacity relief now or LTE operators looking to get the most out of their new network investments. It is also further evidence of the radical changes that are underway in RAN architectures. (See MWC 2011: The End of the RAN as We Know It? )

For more
Catch up on small cells and changes in the RAN here:

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:04:16 PM
re: Intel Inside LTE Small Cells

You got me there! your posts add to my list of follow-up questions, certainly.&nbsp;

I also question whether operators want to add more complexity in their radio access networks like this -- the whole concept of deploying small cells in public hotspots is new and challenging enough on its own. Why add another layer here?


atiller 12/5/2012 | 5:04:11 PM
re: Intel Inside LTE Small Cells

I haven't heard anyone seriously proposing to subject subscribers to forced advertising their personal, home femtocells - although an advertising guru once told me that the ability to target advertising at the point when someone walks through their front door is extremely valuable (pizza tonight? movie?...).&nbsp; Most of the discussion around advertising is about using the femtocell to locate shoppers precisely within a store, thereby allowing more targeted offers to be sent to their phones.&nbsp; Presumably this would be an opt-in service.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:04:04 PM
re: Intel Inside LTE Small Cells

Yes, that's the more likely vector for mobile advertising. (The femto/home thing was something that we on this message thread just cooked up ourselves. I certainly hope nobody's thinking of that.)

They'd pretty much have to make it opt-in. People have been dreading just this application -- spam to the mobile phone -- for a very long time. There'd be a huge backlash if stores and malls started doing it unilaterally -- or so I'd hope, anyway.

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