How PA shrunk a 30 foot mobile phone base-station into a three-inch computer


PA Consulting Group’s wireless experts have used a Raspberry Pi - the $30 computer the size of a credit card - to run a mobile phone base-station that operates a private mobile-phone network.

PA’s team of wireless experts took the Raspberry Pi and implemented it on the GSM mobile standard, which is used by all mobile phones in Europe. As a result, PA managed to route voice and SMS traffic through it by creating a private mobile network.

Watch a video of how the Raspberry Pi was used as a base-station here.

How did PA shrink the 30 foot base-station into a three-inch Raspberry Pi?

PA hooked up the Raspberry Pi to a radio interface and, using Open Source software, implemented the functionality of a mobile base-station. Along with two mobile phones with sim cards, PA created all the functionality to make the phones talk to each other. PA set up their Raspberry Pi in a screened-room facility to ensure no laws on frequency spectrum were broken

PA’s Frazer Bennett, a technology expert, says: “We've shrunk a 30 foot base station into a three-inch Raspberry Pi and created our own mobile phone network. This proves what can be achieved through low-cost off the shelf-systems. Just imagine the other possibilities that other such low cost technologies could inspire across other sectors and industries.”

Raspberry Pi competition for schools, universities and businesses

The Raspberry Pi is targeted at educating the next generation of software and hardware engineers in programming.

Recognising its potential, PA Consulting teamed up with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to launch a competition (now closed to new entrants) that challenged schoolchildren, students and programmers to use a Raspberry Pi to make the world a better place.


For more information on the Raspberry Pi competition:

Watch a video of how the Raspberry Pi was used as a base-station here.


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PA Consulting Group is an innovation and transformation consultancy. We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world.

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