First WiMax products certified

Four vendors now have certified kit for sale, but has WiMax missed its chance?

The WiMax Forum has awarded its first certification marks for products that use the 802.16-2004 wireless standard.

The products were manufactured by Aperto Networks, Redline Communications, Sequans and Wavesat. They were tested at the Forum's certification lab in Spain, which opened in July 2005. According to the Forum, another 26 manufacturers have reserved testing slots at the lab.

The 802.16-2004 standard covers fixed WiMax which will support high-speed wireless access over long distances.

"This is a crucial step in the process of developing and certifying both fixed and mobile WiMax networks," said Lindsay Schroth, senior analyst for broadband access technologies at the Yankee Group, in a statement released by the Forum.

Customers who buy certified products can be sure that they will work with other certified kit. However, many equipment vendors were not prepared to wait for the certification process, and have already launched their own pre-certification equipment.

WiMax has been one of the most talked about and anticipated emerging technologies in the computing sector over the last couple of years. However, because of delays and infighting there is now growing concern that it may not live up to its early promise. A standard has still to be agreed for mobile WiMax, 802.16e, for example. This gives rival wireless technologies, such as HSDPA, a good opportunity to seize market share at WiMax's expense.

More details of the first certified products can be seen here.