MALMSBURY, United Kingdom IPWireless Inc. has launched mobile broadband technology in Europe that is said to offer PC users access at up to 9-Mbit/second data rates using a PCMCIA card.
The company is also about to close a further round of funding to add to the $128 million it has already raised.
The company's technology is based on the 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS) time-division duplex (TDD) unpaired spectrum specification and operates in the 1.9-GHz and 2.5-GHz licensed bands. IPWireless said the data-only TDD systems are more spectrally efficient than conventional systems based on frequency-division duplex (FDD) technology because they use one channel for both upstream and downstream traffic.
Other companies hoping to establish high-speed wireless data services and sign up MMDS licence holders particularly in the United States include Flarion Technologies and Navini Networks.
IP Wireless has held successful field trials with several European network operators and is confident of deployments by major wireless carriers early next year. The service will operate via a tiny wireless modem that plugs into laptops or PCs. The PCMCIA cards are to be made by one of the largest contract electronics manufacturers, Solectron.
The company has also developed TDD-based network infrastructure equipment, but is not yet ready to announce which major telecom OEMs will make the carrier equipment.
Trials are under way in New Zealand by a consortium that combines Walker Wireless and Vodafone to conduct high-speed data transfer between yachts competing in the America's Cup races. In those trials, users out at sea have been able to access data at distances of up to 30 kilometers from a basestation.
The San Bruno, Calif. startup has also sold the system to Teewinot Wireless Data (Missoula, Mont.), which has been running a commercial service since July. IPWireless said a system with many more users is expected to be operating in a large U.S. city by early next year.
"With mobile broadband, our R&D team in Wiltshire has managed to deliver a solution that represents a real leap forward," said Chris Gilbert, CEO of IPWireless.The success of wireless-LAN hot spots has shown that users want a "true mobile-office experience," he said, adding that mobile broadband delivers that experience but is not tied to any location.