WiMAX roundup: WiMAX on the verge of commercialization

Wed, 09/26/2007 - 8:45am
Brian Santo

Product introductions and demonstrations at the 2007 WiMAX World USA Conference & Exposition, running through tomorrow (Sept. 27), indicate that WiMAX is developing apace.

Despite news of at least one new WiMAX deployment and impending WiMAX consumer equipment, there are still preparations to be made to make sure that WiMAX becomes successful.

Aperto Networks said SkyTelecom will use Aperto base stations and subscriber units to launch WiMAX voice and data services to both businesses and consumers in Laos. The initial deployment is taking place in the city of Vientiane, followed in October by a commercial trial.

Texas Instruments  just introduced a WiMAX Forum compliant 802.16e Wave 2 software and development tools platform, suggesting that there’s still plenty of room in the market for more OEMs who might want to make WiMAX equipment. TI’s tools include an evaluation module (EVM) based on the company's digital signal processors.

Alcatel-Lucent and Kyocera Wireless announced they are working to combine the former’s WiMAX infrastructure with the latter’s wireless devices into an end-to-end broadband network. Kyocera’s devices for WiMAX networking will include multimode mobile phones, non-traditional wireless devices, wireless PC cards and USB devices for PCs.

At the same time, Alcatel-Lucent said it has expanded its interoperability testing (IOT) efforts with WiMAX ringleader Intel to similarly ensure the compatibility of its WiMAX infrastructure with devices built around Intel's fixed/mobile WiMAX silicon (the Connection 2250) and Intel’s WiMAX MIMO-capable chipset for mobile devices. The two have been formally collaborating on WiMAX since 2004.

Devices based upon Intel's WiMAX chipsets are expected to be made available for fixed and nomadic services before the end of 2007, and for mobile services in 2008.

Motorola demonstrated live handoffs of sessions between WiMAX cells during a boat cruise on, and car journeys (at speeds up to 50 MPH) along, the Chicago River. The demo highlighted one of the advantages of mobile WiMAX – the ability to keep a connection even in a moving vehicle.

Sprint Nextel is building a WiMAX network using Motorola equipment. The service will be called Xohm (the X is pronounced like a Z, and the word rhymes with “foam”). Xohm CTO and President Barry West said, “We are on schedule to begin Xohm pre-commercial service in Chicago by the end of 2007, with commercial service planned in that and other markets beginning April 2008.”

Meanwhile, Trango Broadband Wireless added to its licensed microwave point-to-point product line a new wireless backhaul product, TrangoLINK Giga 6, which operates in the licensed 6 GHz microwave spectrum and was developed to deliver high-capacity IP connectivity for wireless Internet service provider (WISP) backbones, WiMAX networks, cellular backhaul, enterprise connectivity, broadcast and municipal applications as well as other mobile and fixed wireless networks.



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