Formal Certification Of Mobile WiMax Products Begins - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

Formal Certification Of Mobile WiMax Products Begins

Vendors can submit their 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz gear for testing to the WiMax Forum's lead certification lab in Spain.

There are thousands of Mobile WiMax products in use and tens of thousands of WiMax subscribers already successfully using the wide area wireless technology. Finally, the WiMax Forum is going to begin the formal process to test and evaluate Mobile WiMax products for certification.

WiMax Forum annnounced Wednesday that vendors can now submit their 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz gear for testing to the forum's lead certification lab at AT4 Wireless in Spain. Certification can also be carried out soon in labs in the U.S., Taiwan, China, and Korea, the forum said, adding that additional certification labs are planned for Taiwan and India to keep up with the demand.

The forum estimated that Mobile WiMax pilots and trials are already operating in more than 65 countries; more than 300 operators have established WiMax networks. Most were established to conform to draft WiMax specifications, even though formal certification wasn't expected until after the pilots and trials were deployed.

Mobile WiMax deployment by Sprint, currently being tested in Chicago and Washington D.C., is among the WiMax rollouts that is expected to be certified. Barry West, president of Sprint's Xohm WiMax Business Unit, said the forum's certification will help in its planned national launch of WiMax next year.

"Certification facilitates Xohm's model for open access," said West in a statement. Sprint's new CEO Dan Hesse, appointed to the position this week, is evaluating Sprint's WiMax effort. The company had been planning to spend $5 billion on a nationwide deployment of Mobile WiMax, but the struggling service provider is examining various options including a spin off of the WiMax network.

"The beginning of Mobile WiMax certification enables our member companies to deliver on their business commitments," said Ron Resnick, WiMax Forum president, in a statement, maintaining that Mobile WiMax is ahead of alternative mobile technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE). Resnick is an executive at Intel, which has pioneered WiMax. Intel has targeted 2008 as the year that Mobile WiMax will take hold and begin to reach consumers in countries around the world.

"In Korea," said Hyun Pyo Kim, director of WiBro planning for Korea Telecom, "WiMax technology is the cornerstone of our mobile broadband deployment. Today, with more than 100,000 active Mobile WiMax users and 410,000 subscribers projected for 2008, the availability of WiMax Forum Certified mobile equipment will enable us to significantly expand our customer base and mobile broadband service offerings."

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