Sprint Magix Box Creates New In-Home, In-Business Small Cells

Sprint is taking another step on the road to commercial small cell architectures with the introduction of the Sprint Magic Box, an all–wireless small cell (pico cell) designed for consumer or business use.

Separately, Comcast, for example, has used a different "small cell" approach to create homespots on the backs of its consumer internet access routers, creating a partitioned "public Wi-Fi" footprint usable by its own internet access customers initially, and later as a building block for Comcast's mobile service. Eventually, the platform could support wholesale access services as well.

The plug–and–play Magic Box is an LTE 4G small cell that “dramatically improves data coverage and increases download and upload speeds on average by 200 percent,” Sprint says.

The Magic Box, an indoor, self-configuring small cell, about the size of a shoebox, requires no implementation, labor, or rental costs that are a hurdle for many traditional small cell deployments.

The unit is simply placed near a window and plugged into a power outlet. The Magic Box then connects directly to the Sprint macrocell network for backhaul, without requiring a fixed network connection.

The move also finally commercializes Sprint’s 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets.

Sprint says it will continue its deployment of three-channel carrier aggregation on 2.5 GHz sites, moves that will allow even faster speeds.

The company also anticipates using other technologies including four-channel carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) and Massive MIMO to further enhance the capacity and coverage of its 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE spectrum.

One Sprint Magic Box provides average coverage of 30,000 square feet indoors and can benefit adjacent Sprint customers inside the building. The signal can also extend coverage 100 meters outside a building, benefitting Sprint customers in nearby buildings and improving street–level network performance.

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