Monday, December 01, 2008

WiMax Roaming Demonstrated

Although WiMax hasn't really gotten out of the gate yet, this is an encouraging development. If WiMax coverage is not initially as widespread as required, the ability to roam from operator to operator and frequency to frequency becomes very important. Another interesting part of the story is that wireless spectrum in the UK is so fragmented that operators may only get 30-40 MHz of spectrum.
Airspan, Freedom4 demo WiMAX roaming on different spectrum bands
Airspan and U.K. operator Freedom4 demonstrated a seamless handoff between WiMAX networks that operate on different spectrum bands.

The companies say the accomplishment is significant as users will be able to roam from one operating network to another, such as between a licensed Clearwire 2.5 GHz network and a license-free 3.65 GHz network. Operators will have the option to deploy a mobile WiMAX network using more than one frequency band. In the U.K., operators may only get 30 to 40 megahertz of 2.6 GHz spectrum, which may not be enough to deliver sustained high-speed data applications, according to Graham Currier, chief operating officer with Freedom4. He said dual-band roaming would enable 2.6 GHz spectrum holders to buy wholesale data from other operators and move users onto that spectrum as required. Freedom4 has a vested interest in this because it owns a large block of spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band and could offer roaming to 2.6 GHz license owners.

"Europe has a lot of historic, odd spectrum, and is very fragmented. If you want to have Europe-wide data mobility, almost every network has to work like ours," Currier said.

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