Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
They said it, so I don’t have to: The very funny, very snarky folks at TechDirt expose the latest in marketing hype, decrying Beceem Communications for labeling a product as mobile WiMaX. Derek Keaton points out that the standard isn’t settled, with important issues up in the air, thus there’s no way to declare something as supporting mobile WiMax. While 802.16e is finished, there’s so much more to a standard than complying to a published industry specification, as numerous plugfests, certification labs, and firmware updates should testify to.
Beceem told Ephraim Schwartz at InfoWorld, “We guarantee it will be fully profile-compliant.” Schwartz also notes that a mobile WiMax radio is all well and good, but you need a network (and base stations) before you can do anything with it.
Aperto, Redline, Sequans, and Wavesat get first nod: This first wave of testing covers just a simple air link, and is so limited that a number of companies, including Alvarion, sat this round out.
The four companies who have WiMax certification will certainly trumpet the fact, but it doesn’t change the dynamics of the industry. These initial certifications work just in the 3.5 GHz band, which isn’t yet approved for use in the US.
The press release from the WiMax Forum notes that the Spanish testing lab has 26 reservations for base station and customer premises equipment in the queue, which will be completed over the next two months. Subsequent waves of testing will cover more and more aspects of WiMax performance and interoperability, such as quality of service and advanced radio features.
For a rundown of what’s handled in each wave of certification, consult analyst Monica Paolini’s free white paper.
Samsung showed several devices using WiBro at CES: WiBro is an early version of 802.16e, which will be the basis for what is loosely being called mobile WiMax in the U.S. and elsewhere. Fixed WiMax is based on 802.16-2004, which allows for fixed receivers in a couple of long spectrum ranges, including mostly licensed frequencies but also unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. WiBro has already appeared in South Korea with more to come. The devices are a bit bulky, and a representative at the booth told me that a WiBro phone doesn’t have much talk time, but couldn’t provide an exact number. They showed a laptop with a WiBro card, too.
Because WiBro operates at 2.3 GHz in South Korea, a range not available in the U.S., and because 2.4 GHz probably has too many limits, 2.5 GHz is the most likely band to be used, but it’s mostly tied up by Sprint Nextel, and is in the middle of a reorganization. The Samsung rep said that they were working on a 3.5 GHz flavor for Europe, but colleague Monica Paolini noted that that band would have propagation characteristics that were poor for mobility.
Interestingly, I couldn’t pin down the Samsung rep on how they were running WiBro in the booth, which they were claiming to do and apparently were. It’s possible they used 2.4 GHz at low power (because the devices were pinned to the displays, the distance needed was quite short).