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Clearwire, Cisco Team Up On Wireless WiMax

The companies are pairing Cisco's mobile WiMax infrastructure with Clearwire's ecosystem of partners to deploy mobile broadband.
Clearwire and Cisco moved to strengthen their partnership in an alliance that calls for Cisco to become Clearwire's core provider of WiMax infrastructure. Cisco also will build a line of WiMax devices for the small office and home office market, the companies said in an announcement Wednesday.

Clearwire has deployed its wide area wireless WiMax technology in two urban areas -- Baltimore and Portland, Ore. -- and plans to roll out the technology in more U.S. cities by the end of the year.

"By teaming with Cisco," stated Scott Richardson, Clearwire's chief strategy officer, "we're building a robust and cost-efficient next-generation network that's designed specifically for delivering rich broadband services."

Cisco leaped into the wireless WiMax arena in October 2007 with its acquisition of Navini Networks. Its relationship with Clearwire has picked up momentum in recent months, particularly with the companies' commitment to create a 20-square-mile WiMax Innovation Network in Silicon Valley. The network will extend 4G mobile broadband service to the campuses of Google, Intel, and other technology innovators. Cisco is scheduled to provide IP Next Generation Network core infrastructure equipment for the network, which is slated to be online by late summer.

Cisco noted that it's supplying mobile WiMax infrastructure to three countries in the former Soviet Union. In addition, Cisco's Linksys unit -- best known for its lines of routers -- will team up with Clearwire to develop mobile WiMax devices aimed at the consumer and business markets. The companies said Clearwire is testing Cisco products for its network, including Cisco 7600 Series Internet routers, Cisco ASA Firewalls, and Cisco ONS 15454 and 15310 platforms as well as the Cisco Service and Application Module for IP (SAMI) Home Agent.

"Clearwire's ecosystem of partners, coupled with our all-IP next-generation network, will deliver a true mobile broadband experience," Ned Cooper, a Cisco senior VP, said in a statement. "In addition, incorporating WiMax into our products will help enable people to move freely throughout the United States while maintaining continuous connectivity."

Clearwire is 51% owned by Sprint Nextel. In recent days, Sprint has been reported to be in talks with Ericsson to outsource part of its networking operations. Ericsson dropped its main WiMax effort several months ago and decided to focus major future efforts on Long-Term Evolution.


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