Irish developed tech powers first 4G LTE trans-Pacific video call

25 Aug 2011

Image: Bell Labs director Dr Frank Mullany, who leads the R&D group focused on lightRadio in Dublin

Technology spearheaded at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs R&D operation in Dublin was used to stage the first trans-Pacific mobile broadband three-way call using a next generation 4G LTE mobile network.

Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio technology which was developed at the company’s Bell Lab R&D operation in Mulhuddart was to connect a fixed location and a car in Shanghai with Alcatel-Lucent offices in New Jersey.

Using lightRadio, the video call linked Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, New Jersey, the Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell demonstration centre in Shanghai, and the ‘LTE Connected Car’ demonstrator roaming in Shanghai and utilising China Mobile’s fourth-generation TD-LTE trial network.

lightRadio will reduce base station carbon footprint by 50pc

Spearheaded by an R&D group at Alcatel-Lucent in Dublin, the tiny new lightRadio technology will revolutionise base stations and mobile masts, effectively reducing their carbon footprint by 50pc, leading to more bandwidth per person and to universal broadband coverage.

The Dublin operation emerged from a major €69m investment in a new R&D headquarters in Blanchardstown, which included the establishment of a Centre for Telecommunications Value Chain-Driven Research (CTVR) at Trinity College Dublin. This was followed up last year by a multimillion-euro investment that will create 70 new jobs in Dublin.

As well as highlighting the advances Alcatel-Lucent is making with lightRadio, by connecting to the TD-LTE trial network the call also demonstrated the progress being made by China Mobile in trialling the network in Shanghai, where Alcatel-Lucent has deployed its complete End-to-End 4G LTE solution.

The rising ownership of smartphones and the adoption of social networking have increased the need for fast transfer of videos over the internet on the move. Nowhere is this need more evident than in China, where just under half of the world’s new mobile broadband connections were made in 2010.

Li Zhengmao, vice president of China Mobile said: “We are very pleased to see that using Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio, the demo call is successfully linking to the TD-LTE network. Congratulations!”

Today’s demonstration follows the first transatlantic video call made by Alcatel-Lucent on June 8 this year, when it linked locations in the US and France by lightRadio.

Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division said: “This call brings the global commercial reality of lightRadio even closer – and the ability to provide the increased performance and savings that can be made by implementing the technology within an operators’ network.”

Network operators such as France Telecom/Orange, Telefonica and China Mobile are now engaged with Alcatel-Lucent in co-creating the market implementation of lightRadio.

Bell Labs estimates the total cost of ownership of mobile networks reached €150bn in 2010.


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years