Small cells are now widely recognized for their ability to increase network capacity, resulting in much development in this area. Through a strategic R&D program and collaboration, for example, Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies have announced a plan to develop a series of small-cell base stations. Through ultra-broadband access, their goal is to enhance 3G, 4G, and WiFi networks and connectivity in residential and business market areas.

The two companies will develop the next generation of Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio Small Cell products featuring Qualcomm Technologies' FSM9900 family of Small Cell chipsets. They plan to jointly invest in this strategic R&D program. This announcement follows on Alcatel-Lucent’s recent announcement of its “Shift Plan,” by which the firm will focus on growth technologies and seek collaboration with key industry players.

With mobile data traffic expected to grow a thousand times over, the increased capability of small cells will become critical to ensuring adequate capacity. A small-cell network in Northern Virginia has already begun to prove its worth as a viable networking solution.