BARCELONA, Spain-IP and broadband communication company Alcatel-Lucent announced a slew of news on the first day of the 2009 Mobile World Congress here, including a certification by the WiMax Forum and a software module the company says enables service providers to expand the capabilities of their wireless networks through the rapid introduction of Long Term Evolution technology. In addition, the company launched the ng Connect Program, designed to develop the 4G ecosystem.
Alcatel-Lucent said the software module is a key component of the company's enhanced NodeB (eNodeB) solution and represents a "major step" forward in the company's strategy to support next-generation wireless services worldwide. Already in trials with tier-one service providers around the world, the company said it will be generally available in mid-2009.
"The introduction of this LTE software offering highlights our focus on bringing the latest innovations to market to help mobile operators give their customers a superior mobile broadband experience," said the company's head of next-generation mobile access activities, Paul Larbey. "We are strongly committed to ensuring that our service provider customers can quickly evolve and optimize their radio access networks with the latest technology, while preserving their initial investment."
The company's ng Connect Program, in its initial phase, will concentrate on five areas: consumer media and entertainment, enterprise collaboration and electronic health care, automotive connectivity, digital signage, and computing experience. The program is dedicated to establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks, including 4G, LTE, GPON and other ultra-high-bandwidth technologies.
The program boasts a membership that includes 4DK, Buzznet, Chumby, Connect2Media, Dimedis, FishLabs, Hewlett-Packard, QNX, Samsung, Signexx and Total Immersion.
"The establishment of the ng Connect program is an important step in our strategy to create an open ecosystem so that the trusted capabilities of service providers can be combined with the innovation of the Web to bring whole new classes of services to market, services that can leverage the growing capabilities of service-aware IP networks, IMS and more," said Alcatel-Lucent's chief marketing officer and founder of ng Connect, Tim Krause. "The ng Connect Program is dedicated to bringing this ecosystem to life."
Alcatel-Lucent also announced it received WiMax 3.5GHz certification by the WiMax Forum, an industry-led, not-for-profit organization that certifies and promotes the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products. The organization bestowed the WiMax Forum Certified seal of approval for the 3.5GHz band version of its WiMax Rev-e (802.16-2005 standard) compact base station.
"We're pleased to certify Alcatel-Lucent's equipment in the 3.5GHz band, particularly given the breadth of the company's presence in WiMax deployments worldwide in this frequency," said WiMax Forum President and Chairman Ron Resnick. "The company's solution met all specifications in a series of tests at the labs of AT4 wireless, surpassing the WiMax Forum's stringent certification requirements."
Alcatel-Lucent said out of 34 Alcatel-Lucent Rev-e commercial deployments worldwide, 21 are in the 3.5GHz band, and seven of these are already in commercial service. The company said this latest certification marks a "significant step" toward the certification of the company's entire portfolio of WiMax solutions. "Alcatel-Lucent is proud to receive WiMax Forum Certification, which acknowledges the development efforts we've made over the last four and a half years," said Larbey.
In December, Alcatel-Lucent announced that it was refocusing its WiMax research and development efforts on the technology's dominant market opportunity, enhanced wireless DSL-which includes data-centric mobility usage on netbooks and MIDs (mobile Internet devices) as well as residential and nomadic PC use. The company predicts close to 90 percent of WiMax Rev-e subscribers in 2013 will fall in this service category.