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« Manitoba Telecom Pulls Out of Broadband Wireless Project | Main | Navini to Cover Island »

February 4, 2005

Flarion's Good and Bad News

By Nancy Gohring

It’s a sad day for those lucky folks in North Carolina who have been using Nextel’s mobile broadband wireless network: Nextel has sent emails to customers letting them know that the service will be shut down in June. The network, which Nextel originally called a trial but then upgraded to a fully commercial offering, uses gear from Flarion. Some are saying that the merger with Sprint, which recently joined the WiMax Forum, may have led to Nextel’s decision to put an end to the Flarion network. Sprint has reportedly trialed Flarion’s equipment but believes WiMax is a better bet.

It’s really too bad, because I’ve seen nothing but rave reviews from folks using the network. It seems to work well and is particularly valuable because customers can access the network anywhere in the coverage area, not just their homes or offices. The capability puts WiMax to shame, as WiMax equipment isn’t available and won’t initially offer a portable or mobile capability.

The choice of WiMax over Flarion despite the fact that Flarion gear is available and seems to work well, may be a powerful statement regarding the importance of standards. The lack of a standard has certainly been Flarion’s biggest stumbling block, as operators hesitate to choose a technology platform that isn’t supported by a very wide array of vendors.

At the same time, Flarion also announced an upgrade to its offering which would deliver 6 Mbps in a 5 MHz wide channel. At peak throughputs, Flarion claims that the network could support 186 voice over IP calls per sector.

Posted by nancyg at February 4, 2005 3:09 PM

Categories: proprietary technologies

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