MANHASSET, N.Y. Intel and WiLan have announced WiMax silicon and systems, respectively, that together mark a crucial stage on the path to interoperability testing by mid-year and fully certified systems by year's end.
The drive for certified systems got a boost last week during a quarterly meeting of the WiMax Forum in Malaga, Spain, headquarters of the group's Cetecom interoperability testing lab. The Forum launched its certification program by detailing its process and timelines, which call for the lab to start testing in July.
According to WiMax Forum President Ron Resnick, that will lead to fully certified products as early as November. The Forum will initially certify equipment based on two profiles: time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) in the 3.5-GHz band with 3.5-MHz channel widths.
Also at the meeting, the Forum announced support from Korean wireless developers to promote Forum-certified products. It als formalized an agreement with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute that ensures a single global standard for wireless metropolitan area network technology.
So armed, Intel, WiLan and a host of other broadband wireless chip and system providers will use the new WiMax and Broadband Wireless Access Conference in London and Broadband Wireless World in Las Vegas to promote their new WiMax offerings.
Originally codenamed Rosedale, Intel's single-chip modem and applications processor have been relabeled as the Intel PRO/Wireless 5116 broadband interface. Though the chip has been shipping to test sites for six months already, Monday (April 18) marks the official launch, with pricing set at $47 each per 1,000, according to Joe English, director of marketing for Intel's broadband wireless division (Hillsboro, Ore.).
The launch bodes well for WiMax, said English, who emphasized the inherent cost advantages of designing around a single standard. "That drives down costs, and when Intel starts integrating [the new chip] into its platforms, [WiMax will] take off," he said.
Twelve companies are already producing the Intel chip, said English, though only six were revealed: Alvarion, Aperto, Proxim, Airspan and Huawei. Carrier partners include AT&T, Qwest, Brasil Telecom and TowerStream. English said he expects the chip to be integrated into notebooks in 2006, and to have a chip based on 802.16e, the mobile version, by the end of 2006.