WiMax Forum certifies first 2.5GHz products

Mobile WiMax has inched closer to commercial reality, with the WiMax Forum greenlighting 10 products, including base stations and modules from companies like Intel and Motorola

The WiMax Forum has issued its first certifications for mobile-centric products that operate around the 2.5GHz frequency, and said it will start certifying 3.5GHz products later this year.

On Tuesday, the organisation announced that 10 mobile WiMax products had received the "WiMax Forum Certified Seal of Approval". Four base stations, from Alvarion, Motorola, Samsung and Sequans, won certification, along with mobile modules from Intel, Samsung, Beceem, Airspan and ZyXEL.

According to the WiMax Forum, more than 100 mobile WiMax products will be certified by the year's end, with more than 1,000 certified by 2011. This will also include products designed to work at the 3.5GHz frequency, and the forum said on Tuesday that it would start accepting certification applications for such products in the third quarter of this year, with a view to completing certification by the end of the year.

"We are setting an industry precedent by conducting certification in a way that has never been done before," said WiMax Forum president Ron Resnick. "To ensure interoperability for global operators and consumers, the WiMax Forum supports the end-to-end certification process, from equipment development to test equipment validation and, finally, product certification. The WiMax Forum is the only consortium to certify base-station equipment, which is key to ensure true network interoperability and a high quality of service among user devices and network equipment."

Tuesday's announcements could go some way towards bolstering mobile WiMax's lead on its main competitor, the long-term evolution (LTE) of 3G. LTE has not yet been standardised, although that hasn't stopped the chipmaker NXP announcing last week that it would have an LTE-compatible modem available for interoperability testing in the first half of next year.

The 2.5GHz products should be usable in Clearwire and Sprint's WiMax networks in the US. However, mobile WiMax's chances in the UK are largely dependent on the results of an auction for the same spectrum, to be held by the telecommunications regulator Ofcom towards the end of this summer.

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