IDF, WiMax World Make for a Busy September

Carl Weinschenk

With WiMax World set for Chicago next week and the Intel Developer Forum this week in San Francisco, it is hardly surprising that a lot of WiMax news is in the air.


Deployment of the technology took a big step as five laptop vendors said that they would use a version of Intel's Centrino that offers the high-speed wireless networking protocol as an option. TechWorld says that next year Asustek, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba and Matsushita will include the WiMax-capable version of Centrino. The story points out that no agreement has been announced with HP or Dell, the two top laptop makers, or for Apple. But HP, Dell and Apple still could end up offering the WiMax-enabled version of Centrino, too.

The current version of Centrino is called Santa Rosa. Its replacement -- Montevina -- will be comprised of a dual-core mobile Penryn processor and a chipset. The WiMax functionality will be provided by the Echo Peak wireless module, which also supports Wi-Fi. A Wi-Fi-only version of Montevina also will be available, the story says.


As the rollouts come closer, other details are starting to emerge. At IDC, Sprint Nextel said that it will allow enterprises to install their own WiMax short-range base stations that will be able to connect to Sprint Nextel's Xohm WiMax network. The story says Sprint and its partner, Clearwire, will use licensed spectrum for Xohm. Customers will be allowed to use any application, with devices available at retail -- sans the subsidies that make current cell phones so inexpensive. The technology can be embedded into a wide variety of devices.


Intel is not the only vendor that made WiMax product news this week. Navini Networks unveiled its Surfer portfolio, which consists of the Surfer 1000, 2000 and 3000. The company says the Surfer 1000 will operate on the company's WiMax network using Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation. The devices will be available during the fourth quarter in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 3.4 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum bands. The Surfer 2000 and 3000 will be aimed at WiMax Forum Wave 1 and Wave 2 certification, respectively.


Airspan is in the act as well. This week, the company announced the MiMax device family. The first product, MiMax USB, is a USB 2.0 device that the company says enables any laptop to act as a WiMax client. The release says MiMax will allow devices to link to virtually every WiMax network worldwide.


Finally, Wi-Fi Planet detailed what the writer called "a veritable flood" of news from Telsima, a company that focuses on India and other emerging markets. The announcements included both WiMax equipment and a network architecture. The structural introduction is the TRUFLE ASN, which will enable operators to support both fixed and mobile users. The mobile WiMax products include PC cards, indoor and outdoor modems and pico and macro base stations, the story says. The company said it will work with operators in India to ship 10,000 base stations and serve more than 100,000 subscribers this year.


This week admittedly was rife with announcements because of the two conferences. However, a steady stream of news -- albeit at a slightly lower volume -- will continue for the foreseeable futures as tests and rollouts of the networks gather steam.

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