WiMax Pre-Tests Mobility

By Eric Griffith

February 13, 2007

The Forum's latest plugfest is underway in Spain, giving vendors the opportunity to pre-check interoperability.

The WiMax Forum opened its second plugfest for Mobile WiMax equipment two days ago (it runs through February 17). The gathering of 34 companies allows them to test products for interoperability before they are sent off for official certification by the Forum's independent labs. This plugfest is being held Malaga, Spain, and hosted by AT4 Labs (one of the divisions of AT4 Wireless, formerly CETECOM Spain), one of the Forum's independent testers.

The focus at the plugfest is on the mobile flavor of WiMax, also knows by its IEEE specification of 802.16e-2005. The technology, in a pre-certified version, is already in use in some areas, including the WiBro deployment found in South Korea.

The Forum claims that 34 is the largest number of participants it has ever had a plugfest. Among the companies announcing their specific participation are Redline Communications with its RedMAX products, SOMA Networks with its FlexMAX system, Telsima with the Mobile StarMAX base station, and Aperto Networks with the PacketMAX 5000 base station. Other participants include Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Intel, LG Electronics, Motorola, Navini, Nokia, Samsung and SEQUANS Communications.

The plugfest also features a number of test equipment vendors, such as Azimuth,  Rohde & Schwartz, and Tektronix. Agilent and Innowireless announced a new WiMax Test Set this week specifically to help mobile WiMax vendors speed time to market.

Wave 1 of mobile WiMax certification is going to begin about halfway through the year. At least one designer of WiMax chips, Wavesat, has declared that its 16e chips won't be ready until Wave 2 of testing; the company feels its competition has jumped the gun on releasing products. Nevertheless, Wavesat is one of the vendors participating in the plugfest. The company is also at the 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Barcelona, and announced from there that it has done independent testing between Redline's RedMAX base station and the reference design that Wavesat has for its Evolutive customer premises equipment (CPE).

The WiMax Forum will be holding its own member conferences in Madrid, Spain in June, and in Taipei, Taiwan in October.

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