PORTLAND, Ore. WiMax technology could deliver the last mile of wireless broadband service as an alternative to cable and DSL, beginning with network deployment in 2009, according to executives at this week's Cellular Telecommunications & Internet (CTIA) Wireless Conference (April 1-3).
San Diego-based NextWave Wireless Inc. demonstrated MXtv at the CTIA conference in Las Vegas. MXtv is a television broadcast capability that WiMax network operators can add to conventional cellular-type WiMax networks. NextWave Wireless also showed several WiMax reference-design prototypes, including a pocket digital video recorder (DVR) and announced that it was sampling a new higher-performance, lower-power combo WiMax/Wi-Fi chip set for OEMs.
On Monday (March 31), the WiMax Forum said it expects to certify 100 WiMax mobile devices in 2008. It said more than 260 service providers would begin deploying WiMax services in 110 countries by 2010.
NextWave said such a large market would generate a shift in usage patterns toward broadcast services. NextWave's MXtv service is based on PacketVideo embedded multimedia software already installed in over 200 million 3G handsets and is used on T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and other wireless networks.
MXtv "does not require network operators to install any new radio access network infrastructure; they use the same basestations, the same radio and the same spectrum as before," said Craig Miller, NextWave's vice president of marketing. "WiMax network operators can also deliver multichannel television broadcasts. We estimate 20 or even 40 television channels will be broadcast to WiMax subscribers."
MXtv uses a packet-data structure on video streaming, managing the synchronization issues involved in recreating a continuous serial stream of video images from batches of separately transmitted data packets. Up to 45 TV channels can be broadcast in 10 MHz of bandwidth, with channel-switching times of under two seconds, 30 frames-per-second full motion at resolutions of 320 x 240 pixels (QVGA) and 480 x 272 pixels (WQVGA).
"We expect OEMs to begin building devices like pocket DVRs right away," said Miller. "A pocket DVR could follow your personal program guide and record all the TV broadcasts you are likely to want for later viewing."
Network operators using MXtv could dynamically allocate spectrum based on content availability, time-of-day and user demand, as well as generate user-specific content, such as personalized radio stations that generate playlists.
The company's second-generation chip set--a baseband and an RF chip--is currentlly being sampled, and is expected to be used for wireless broadband subscriber stations, broadband and other modems along with multimode/smartphone handsets and mobile multimedia devices.
The NextWave's NW2000 chip set inlcudes mobile subscriber baseband SoCs and mixed-signal, integrated multiband RF ICs. NextWave Wireless is currently sampling both chips in the NW2000 family.
The NW2100 baseband chip is a IEEE 802.16e (WiMax) mobile subscriber SoC. The baseband WiMax chip also integrates an IEEE 802.11b/g media access controller (Wi-Fi), a SIM controller, multiple host interfaces and an embedded authentication engine. The baseband chip licenses an ARM9 processor.
The chip set also integrates support for MXtv, which is already delivering TV to mobile users of 3G devices in Europe. The new chip set is intended to extend MXtv support to mobile multimedia devices using 4G WiMax networks.
The multiband RF transceiver chip was optimized to support major WiMax bands and profiles. The company also claims that the NW2200 requires fewer support chips than before due to its direct-conversion architecture and integrated amplifiers and voltage regulators.
At CTIA, NextWave is also showing its reference design based on its chip set for use in WiMax-enabled devices, including a pocket DVR, various WiMax handsets, a broadband modem, a music-video recorder/player and other WiMax applications. The company will also demonstrate MXtv broadcasts of video from a WiMax basestation to a mobile handset using its PacketVideo solution.