SAN JOSE, Calif.—The WiMax Forum on Thursday announced the first products to pass official certification and interoperability testing for the fixed wireless broadband standard.
Certified products include Aperto Networks PacketMAX 5000 base station, Redline Communications Inc. RedMAX AN-100U base station, Sequans Communications SQN2010 SoC base station, and Wavesat Inc.s MiniMAX customer premise equipment or modem, WiMax Forum officials announced at the WCA Technical and Business Symposium here.
These products support the 802.16-2004 IEEE standard for fixed wireless connectivity between a client and a single base station.
With a range of several miles and speeds of up to 40M bps per channel, fixed WiMax is meant to be an alternative to DSL or cable, primarily in rural areas that may not have access to land lines.
The IEEE ratified the fixed WiMax standard in June of 2004, and the Forum had planned to offer official WiMax certification for some products in 2005.
However, the IEEE made some last-minute changes to the standard in November 2005, which slightly delayed the certification process.
“The reality is that a standard is an evolving document,” said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMax Forum and a marketing director at Intel Corp., which is a champion of the WiMax technology. “Its a living, breathing reflection of what the market wants.”
The initially certified WiMax products run in the 3.5GHz radio frequency, which is widely used in Europe but is not licensed for public use in the United States. Products that run in bands licensed in the United States, such as 2.5GHz, should be certified later this year, Resnick said.
The WiMax road map eventually calls for mobile broadband connectivity that allows roaming among base stations—sort of a beefed-up version of Wi-Fi with a greater range. The standard for mobile WiMax, 802.16e, was ratified in December.
WiMax Forum officials said the time between standard ratification and compatibility testing for mobile WiMax should be shorter than it was with fixed WiMax. The prospect of mobile WiMax already faces competition from existing high-speed cellular services such as EvDO and HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access).
“We can have the lab ready to go for validation in the fourth calendar quarter of this year,” said Jeff Orr, director of marketing at the WiMax Forum in Mountain View, Calif. “We realize were not the only technology in town.”
To that end, Intel is promising a Centrino notebook chip set based on mobile WiMax next year.