Saturday 29 September 2007

WiMAX World Highlights

WiMAX is strating to be rolled out and this will definitely give it an advantage over LTE/UMB.

Motorola demoed its new WiMAX 802.16e mobile handoffs across a Sprint brand Xohm prototype network on a boat cruising downtown Chicago’s skyscraper-canyoned mid-town river. Not only was it good clean fun for the attendant pundits, punters and analysts, it was an impressive real-life demonstration of an important nascent technology that they could just as easily, and less expensively have unveiled in the controlled environs of the conference hall – boring as hell like usual – but they did not. Motorola and gang literally went the extra mile by also mounting the new WiMAX exhibition on a rolling Chicago public transit coach caroming about the city’s elevated metro tracks at 50 miles per hour, all the while delivering pretty seamless mobile apps like web browsing, VoIP, video streaming and Mobile TV.

Elsewhere, NextWave Broadband and Huawei Technologies also this week announced the interoperability testing of NextWave’s 802.16e mobile WiMAX chipsets and Huawei’s WiMAX infrastructure equipment in San Diego.

Telsima announced that the company’s Indian WiMAX Rollout was awarded the Best of WiMAX World USA 2007 Award for its StarMAX™ Solution in the WiMAX World Digital Cities Deployment category by the xchange magazine. The annual awards were presented in a late evening award ceremony on September 26 at the WiMAX World Conference held at Chicago on Sept. 25-27, and recognized leaders in the development and deployment of WiMAX technologies. In its second year, the awards received more than 80 submissions and Telsima pipped at the post several strong contenders to establish its leadership.

Telsima has established leadership position in WiMAX by enabling multi-city rollouts for Tier 1 operators, including, Reliance Communications and Tata-VSNL in India. The WiMAX rollouts, with thousands of base station sectors already shipped, support several advanced functionalities, like, MIMO & STC Antenna Diversity in support of NLOS deployments. The equipment installed in rollouts covers WiMAX Forum Certified™ Telsima BS StarMAX 4120, 6100 and 6400 and SS StarMAX 2140 and 2150.

Nortel set up one of the biggest booths at WiMax World on the show floor, and announced that it is working with the Choctaw Electric Cooperative and Pine Cellular to bring WiMax to southeastern Oklahoma and other rural areas where it is not economically feasible to build a wired network.

Another category of devices under development are ultra-mobile PCs, or mobile Internet devices, which are about the size of a VHS tape and function somewhere between a laptop and a mobile phone. Samsung displayed a "butterfly" device that has three folding sections, including two that form a full keyboard used with a small screen. Nokia has an ultra-mobile device expected to launch next year with Intel technology inside. It was in the dashboard of a Mini Cooper as an entertainment center.

Meanwhile the Koreans revealed world's first mobile WiMAX gaming device. Called the G100 and developed by Posbro, a subsidiary of Posdata (itself a subsidary of huge Korea steel maker Posco), it's just been revealed at the WiMAX World USA 2007 exhibition in Chicago.In terms of hardware specs, the G100 features a widescreen four-inch touchscreen that slides up to reveal four buttons which act as a D-pad, four face buttons and a mobile-style nub. There are also two shoulder buttons.As for network technology, the G100 supports mobile WiMAX – itself a cell phone-style high-speed technology equivalent to 3G and 4G mobile networks – as well as old fashioned Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This, Posbro says, will enable users to select the most appropriate network to make an internet connection.

Finally, Clearwire had a minimal presence. It didn't have a booth or splashy banners hung from the ceiling. It didn't host a cruise on the Chicago River to show off its service. But the conference did pause Thursday to hear a progress report from the Kirkland-based company.

Clearwire, founded by wireless entrepreneur Craig McCaw, has been in business four years and serves more than 40 markets in the U.S. and a handful of cities in Europe.

The company offers a precursor to WiMax technology. Users receive a modem — about the size of a hardback book — that can be used anywhere in a service territory, though not on the go, such as in a moving vehicle.

Clearwire's progress differs from the rest of the industry, which is waiting to build networks based on true mobile WiMax technology, expected to be available early next year. "The difference with Clearwire and other folks in the room is that while others are planning, we are in service today," Richardson said.

In his speech, Richardson offered a rare glimpse into operations of a company that usually prefers to stay out of the spotlight and say little. Here are a few points worth noting, gathered from his presentation and a one-on-one interview:

  • Clearwire has about 300,000 subscribers. In August, 41 percent of its customers migrated from cable Internet access and 29 percent from DSL.
  • The combined total is about 10 percent more than in the first quarter, when 59 percent of customers moved from DSL or cable.
  • Clearwire is starting slowly to roll out mobile WiMax — which can be used on the go — into new markets, including Portland.
  • Deployment of true mobile WiMax is going well in Portland, Richardson said. In April, Clearwire completed the first phase, involving 15 square miles. It's now focused on a beta network covering 145 square miles.
  • In 2008, it expects to see laptops with embedded chipsets, as well as WiMax-enabled handsets.
  • As for a WiMax business model, he said that will likely evolve as networks become available. "I believe the future is driven by the types of things you do at home today and want to do on the go, but we have to provide the connectivity to enable the business model."
  • Richardson said a lot of the complexity in the business will be in the back end of Clearwire's network, where it handles billing. As a result, it bought IntraISP, of St. Louis, which will be a subsidiary and be able to sell billing solutions to other companies.

No comments: