Fujitsu Looks At WiMax

By Jeff Goldman

August 25, 2004

New white papers reveal the company's roadmap for making system-on-a-chip high speed wireless solutions.

Fujitsu Microelectronics America this week released a white paper which provides an overview of WiMax, explains the standards and technologies behind it, and looks at the timeline for future deployments.

George Wu, the company's Director of Technology Solutions/ASSP Product Marketing, says the white paper is intended to be a broad introduction to Fujitsu's perspective on WiMax.

Wu says Fujitsu's intention in publishing the white paper, along with a few other white papers which the company will release over the next few months, is to keep Fujitsu in the public eye as it moves towards the launch of its WiMax SoC (system on a chip) early next year.

"We want to position ourselves such that the market will respond favorably to the announcement," Wu says.

With no WiMax-certified products yet available, it's hard to control the discussion. "We have our representatives out there on a global basis attending all these different events and forums, and people are asking questions about our commitment to the industry, and especially to WiMax," Wu says. In response, Fujitsu is publishing this and future white papers.

Once the first WiMax products are available, Wu says he expects most companies to deploy them in the same way. "If you deploy the base station first, at least you have the foundation laid," he says. "Then the next step is to get all the CPEs hooked up to it."

As deployments continue, he says, others will start to build cheaper CPEs. "Initially, you'll see all the majors doing both the base station and the CPE -- but down the road, as the CPE costs continue to slide down, others will be entering the market with ODM models," Wu says.

Fujitsu is currently working with the Canadian equipment maker Wi-LAN to co-develop its WiMax SoC. The first WiMax Forum certified products are expected to ship next year, and Wu says the race is already on. "A lot of companies are hitting the ground running, because the design of the system itself takes a long time," he says.

According to the white paper, the Fujitsu SoC will include most of the components necessary for WiMax. "It's going to combine both the MAC [media access control layer] and the PHY [physical layer] functions into the same silicon -- with all the other bells and whistles attached to it -- so we believe this chip is extremely competitive," Wu says.

That kind of design, Wu says, is typical for Fujitsu. "Fujitsu is an SoC company," he says. "If you look at the particular chip we're working on right now, it's leveraging the SoC heritage that we've utilized to design our chips in the past."



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