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We propose a software radio based distributed base station (DBS) architecture which replaces conventional base stations with a cluster of DBS and a central processing station (CPS) which are connected by a high speed data communication network. As most signal processing is carried out in the CPS, the DBS is compact and lightweight, and requires low power for operation, so it can be deployed economically and virtually everywhere. Furthermore, since the radio signals received by different DBS are processed in one CPS, signal combining techniques (SCT) can be employed to improve the reverse link capacity of the 3G UMTS. Analytical expressions for this improvement are derived using the concept of percentage of coverage area with and without the SCT. Complementary computer simulation results for a cdma2000 system have also shown that by employing the SCT, the proposed software radio based DBS architecture can achieve significant reverse link capacity improvement.