WiMAX is ready for roll-out, according to Saab Grintek. The company has announced that it has successfully completed several trials involving both fixed and mobile networks and that it is confident that WiMAX can fill an important gap in the provision of broadband services.
The group has demonstrated to mobile operators the ability to use WiMAX as an alternative to other access radio and Ethernet backhaul technologies. While WiMAX remains the industry buzzword, its fundamental physical layer modulation technique, OFDM, is not really that new. OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technology was introduced over 50 years ago.
Explained Shergen Padayachee, senior technology strategist at Saab Grintek: "WiMax just capitalises on the benefits of the multicarrier OFDM modulation technology to deliver true broadband wireless access."
"I believe that the wireless telecom manufacturers and wireless network operators did something right this time by forming the WiMAX forum," he adds. The WiMAX Forum is an organisation of leading operators and communications component and equipment companies. Its charter is to promote and certify the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless access equipment that conforms to the IEEE 802.16 and ETSI HiperMAN standards. The WiMAX Forum was established to help remove barriers to wide-scale adoption of WiMAX as a broadband wireless access (BWA) technology, by developing a standard that is accepted by both operators and manufacturers.
"Manufacturers claiming their equipment is 'WiMAX-ready', 'WiMAX-compliant', '802.16-compliant', etc, are not WiMAX Forum Certified, which means that their equipment is not independently certified to be interoperable with other vendors' equipment. Only WiMAX Forum Certified equipment is proven interoperable with other vendors' equipment that is also WiMAX Forum Certified," he says.
Saab Grintek has partnered with Alvarion, a wireless technology company that has already supplied WiMAX systems for over 150 installations in 30 countries. In June the company achieved certification which means that that Alvarion WiMAX systems comply with the IEEE 802.16 and ETSI HiperMAN standards based on 100% success in a series of authorised WiMAX Forum interoperability tests. The company received certification for its BreezeMax platform which was also extensively tested in network trials in South Africa. BreezeMax carrier-class design supports broadband speeds and quality of service (QoS) to enable carriers to offer triple play services to thousands of subscribers connected to a single base station.
"With WiMAX ready for implementation, I believe that the next challenge lies with the handset developers," Padayachee said. "WiMAX, WiFi and 3G networks and some of the previous upgraded networks will in the future co-exist side by side. Handsets must be able to evaluate the signals strength and coverage and switch to the network providing the best and most reliable coverage at any given location supporting the same service attributes."
While new development often moves faster than industry standards and technology certification, modern systems are SDR-based (software defined radio) which means that only software upgrades have to be implemented This also applies to handsets, so frequent changing of handset to upgraded models will not be necessary in the future, says Padayachee. Handsets will receive automatic software upgrades from the network often even without the owner/users being aware of it. The other significant change in the way in which we will communicate in the near future is total system mobility. People will have one telephone number for all services and the intelligence built into networks and terminals will automatically track the user and enable communication services irrespective of the user terminal type.
For more information contact Linda Weaver, Saab Grintek, +27 (0)12 672 8216, firstname.lastname@example.org
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