The WiMAX Forum has announced at its second annual Global Congress 2009 in Amsterdam that 14 ecosystem leaders are participating in the first ever commercial WiMAX interoperability and roaming trials. These operators, device manufacturers, equipment vendors, and clearing houses include Aicent, Alvarion, Bridgewater Systems, Cisco, Clearwire, Comfone, DigitalBridge Communications, Intel, iPass, Juniper Networks, MACH, Motorola, Syniverse and Transaction Network Services.
The commercial trial provides another platform for the WiMAX Forum to aggressively position operators and clearinghouses to initiate commercial roaming services which will lead to roaming worldwide. Additionally, the WiMAX Forum provides operators and vendors with all the information needed to understand WiMAX roaming and to launch roaming services at www.wimaxroaming.org, including technical specifications to follow when implementing roaming and a business agreement template to use with other operators.
“The testing of networks and equipment on leading operator networks will demonstrate to all WiMAX operators that they can easily provide roaming services to their customers,” said Resnick. “The goal is to demonstrate the WiMAX standard end-to-end roaming implementation that will be replicated by WiMAX operators and clearinghouses worldwide.
This includes WiMAX networks which support roaming services and the roaming back office platforms which track and measure usage for operators to correctly settle accounts with each other.”
Currently, WiMAX Forum tracks more than 475 WiMAX network deployments in 140 countries. A complete detail of WiMAX networks is available at http://www.wimaxmaps.com.
Commuter Train WiMAX Services Launch in Taiwan
Paving the way for commercial roaming trials in Taiwan in Q3 of this year, the WiMAX Forum announced that Information and Communications Research Laboratories at Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a WiMAX Forum board member has launched a one year project providing free WiMAX service on the Muzha/Neihu Line of the Taipei Metro system (MRT).
This project is coordinated by ITRI to work with multiple Taiwanese vendors to provide Mobile internet WiMAX services available to every passenger riding the metro. The network is provided by VMAX, one of the largest Taiwanese WiMAX operators; the equipment is provided by Acer, AWB, MSI, Tecom and ZyXEL, and the content is coming from Taipei Zoo, PTS (Public Television Service) and Taipei City Government.
There will be two applications provided by this service: information broadcasting and free Internet access with a WiMAX/Wi-Fi signal. ITRI will use information broadcasting to provide useful information for passengers and promote Taipei City Government services, such as live scenes from the zoo and other important activities organized by Taipei City Government. This will give passengers instant information, such as the tickets left for the Panda Pavilion of Taipei Zoo, weather forecasting, breaking news, and public promotion video from Taipei City Government. There will be two monitors installed in each car so the passengers can enjoy the latest information while on the Metro. Passengers may also use their WiMAX or Wi-Fi embedded devices for free access to the Internet from the train car.
“3.5G or HSDPA can provide mobile service as well. However, WiMAX provides live scene broadcasting which needs high bandwidth which can’t be supported by HSDPA,” said Resnick. “This service allows for real-time entertainment with live access to the Internet at 4G speeds for free.”
The WiMAX service will be available in eight cars from June 1, 2009 until May 31, 2010.
WiMAX Forum Certified™ Pricing Model Changes
In addition, the WiMAX Forum Board of Directors has voted unanimously to change the pricing fee setup for its WiMAX Forum Certified program to a market pricing model at all six of its certification labs. The organization was able to move to this pricing plan based on efficiencies in testing enabling lower cost for product testing.
“The maturity of devices that we are seeing in the labs takes less time to test compared to a few years ago,” said Resnick. “Vendor options for pre-testing and debugging reduces operational testing time and also further reduces the time needed for lab testing. Additional automation of testing has also helped lower these costs.”
“This open market model allows for WiMAX Forum certification labs to negotiate directly with vendors,” said Sean Cai, deputy general manager of ZTE Corporation’s WiMAX product line and WiMAX Forum Board Member. “ZTE is encouraged to have the opportunity to control our own destiny and as a result we’re eager get more products into the pipeline for certification.” The WiMAX Forum has 106 certified products in the market today, with a projection of at least 1,000 certified products available by 2011.
The WiMAX Forum is the worldwide consortium focused on global adoption of WiMAX and chartered to establish certification processes that achieve interoperability, publish technical specifications based on recognized standards, promote the technology and pursue a favorable regulatory environment. A complete list of members is available online at http://www.wimaxforum.org/about/.