Mobile Base Station Squashed into a Raspberry Pi

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A group of wireless experts have managed to cram an entire functioning mobile base station into a tiny $35 Raspberry Pi computer.

The Raspberry Pi is a Linux based module that was originally developed to encourage children to learn to tinker with programming, but has also lead to a slew of unexpected uses in M2M deployments and even webservers. Now, it has been converted to work as a base station.

The engineers at the PA Technology Centre got hold of a Raspberry Pi to see if they could implement a mobile phone base-station that could run their own private mobile-phone network.

Setting up the Raspberry Pi in a screened-room facility to ensure they didn't break any laws on frequency spectrum, they successfully managed to route voice and SMS traffic through the computer - as well as implement the GSM mobile phone standard. 

The development required hooking up the Raspberry Pi to a radio interface and hand-optimising some of the software. Then code-optimising the signal processing.

The development was more a proof-of-concept tied in with a technology competition the company is running, but it demonstrated the surprising versatility of the tiny UK developed computer.

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