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Alvarion ships customer-premises equipment (CPE) devices that use Intel’s WiMax chips: The announcement is a little obscure, and I spoke to Alvarion to work out the details. They’re shipping the BreezeMAX Pro CPE, which is what they call WiMax Ready CPEs. The device uses the Intel PRO/Wireless 5116. These aren’t WiMax-certified devices, and the chips may change between now and when certification for the chips is finalized.
Vice president of marketing at Alvarion, Carlton O’Neal, said in an interview, “This is a precursor to having a certified chip and CPE in the first half of next year.” O’Neal is bearish on certification, noting that the October testing by the WiMax Forum will probably have a reduced featureset that may not provide enough interoperable guarantees for major carriers to deploy equipment based on that iteration of WiMax.
But Alvarion has seen an uptake of its BreezeMax base station, which is being used in unlicensed bands in smaller towns and for niche purposes by companies that include Verizon and BellSouth. O’Neal said that as the base station was upgraded for WiMax certification, it would continue to support earlier generations of CPE designed for it, including the BreezeMax Pro CPE.
The Pro CPE will upgradable, O’Neal said: “The commitment we’ve made is that we would make a software and/or firmware upgrade for those BreezeMax base stations.” However, he noted, there may be “some money changing hands” and early deployers may have no need to swap out CPEs if the certified featureset offers no substantive improvements that can’t be delivered via firmware.
Posted by Glennf at September 8, 2005 10:49 AM
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