Wazco's MetroCell Adds Oomph to LTE

Mon, 05/16/2011 - 7:57am
Maisie Ramsay

LTE networks aren't structured the same way as 3G networks. The flat, all-IP networks make extensive use of small cells to handle network traffic, extending capacity away from the base station.

Wazco is getting into the small cell business with the debut of its new ultra-compact metrocell for LTE networks, the MetroStorm, at the LTE World Summit in Amsterdam.

Wazco's MetroStorm metrocell provides more capacity than a picocell but is small enough to fit on a lamppost. The company managed to achieve this feat by combining up to four different chips into a single piece of equipment, dramatically increasing the amount of traffic the metrocell is able to handle.

Wazco MetroStormEach of the MetroStorm's four chips – Wazco calls them sectors – comes with a specially designed MIMO antenna that can be adjusted to target a specific area around the equipment. For instance, engineers could choose to point one sector at an apartment building while pointing another toward a busy street.

"Picocells tend to be single-sector, and if they're multisector, they tend to be very large," says Wazco CEO and co-founder Mike Nasco. "Our metrocell is very compact, all its antennas are within the dome, and it has four sectors. It's a very small, powerful unit."

The MetroStorm uses Interphase's customizable iSPAN 36701 baseband module and DataSoft's front-end RF hardware.

The MetroStorm is designed to be deployed anywhere operators need to offload data traffic, expand coverage and increase capacity. Wazco simplified the deployment of the MetroStorm by incorporating AirHop's technology for self-organizing networks.

AirHop's software allows Wazco's metrocells to coordinate with each other, maximizing capacity while mitigating interference problems that can crop up when cells are placed in proximity to a base station. AirHop's technology is flexible, allowing the MetroStorm to adjust to changes in network traffic.

The MetroStorm is the first product Wazco has put on the market. Wazco doesn't have customers for the MetroStorm yet, but Nasco says the company has planned discussions with Indian wireless operators interested in the product.

Wazco may be a new company, but Nasco has been in the wireless industry since the very beginning. His first major foray into wireless communications came in 1984, when he founded Cellular Communications Corporation (CCC). Those were the pre-digital days, and Nasco developed analog cellular call boxes set up along freeways in the United States and Europe.

Nasco went on to hold a variety of posts in the telecommunications business and sees Wazco has an extension of his decades worth of experience.

"Wazco is an evolution of the work we've done over the years," Nasco says.


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