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« Softcom Builds Mesh in Galt, Calif. | Main | U.S. Wireless to Deploy Aperto Gear »

June 8, 2005

WiMax Faces Scattered Spectrum Challenges

By Nancy Gohring

I wrote a story for a special WiMax supplement produced by Telephony looking at the global spectrum situation for WiMax: It reads a bit like a list of which frequencies might be used for WiMax in many regions around the globe. But the conclusion is that it is a really splintered situation. The best chance for a near-harmonized approach would be in the 2.5 GHz band. But there are huge “ifs” surrounding that band in Europe, where the spectrum won’t even be distributed until 2008. There’s a chance that regulators will cave to pressure from the cell phone carriers and try to prevent WiMax from being deployed in the band.

Leap in Ireland presents an interesting case too. The operator is using the 3.6 GHz band and gear from Aperto. But the 3.6 GHz band isn’t hugely interesting in many areas so it’s low on the priority list at the WiMax Forum. If 3.6 GHz was on the list of frequencies to be certifiable, it would mean more vendors would be apt to build to the band and the cost of equipment could drop even further.

Absent a single frequency to be used worldwide, the best solution is for the Forum to certify as many bands as possible. Eventually vendors can make gear that can operate in multiple frequencies, lowering costs for all and ultimately allowing for roaming. But between now and then there will be a lot of wrangling.

Almost as a case in point, Alvarion announced that it is making its BreezeMax gear available in the 2.3 GHz WCS band in the U.S. as well as the 2.5 GHz MMDS band (which apparently is being called BRS these days). While this could be useful for operators in the U.S. that have spectrum in those bands, the gear won’t be officially certified until the Forum gets to testing those bands.

Posted by nancyg at June 8, 2005 3:08 PM

Categories: Spectrum

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