WiMax certification process launched

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    Vancouver - The WiMax Forum, an industry consortium that was created to ensure standard compliance and interoperability of WiMax products, announced that it has opened the certification process of first generation WiMax products. First WiMax products are expect to hit the market at the end of this year.

    WiMax hardware takes one more step closer to commercial production with the organization starting to certify products. Launchpad for the announcement was the Forum's quarterly meeting currently held in Vancouver, Canada. "We're excited by the opportunity to show off the capabilities of WiMax technology in Vancouver and prove that WiMax is real," said Ron Resnick, president of the organization. The certification process is slightly behind schedule and was originally scheduled to begin in Spring of this year.

    According to Resnick, more than 400 participants from the 220 members of the WiMax Forum member companies are attending the event, with many firms, including Nortel, Microsoft, Disney, Logitech, Cisco, AT&T, AudioCodes, Kencast, Ixia and Skype, showcasing their products and services. Shawn Lightfoot, vice president of technology at Wi-LAN, said in an early conversation with Tom's Hardware Guide that most WiMax companies were pushing to get their product to be ready for the start of the certification phase: "The WiMax race is on to get products out to the market," he said.

    Intel is widely expected to take a leading role in preparing the wireless broadband market for WiMax products and services - not just because it was one of the firms to actually send a WiMax chipset into mass-production, but also because the company has been a long time global promoter of the technology and now enjoys significant influence in the global telecommunications industry.

    "If you imagine the communication world of broadband as a collection of technologies in a toolbox, WiMax is really one of these ultimate weapons, just like Wi-Fi and 3G," said Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel's Broadband Wireless Division, in a recent interview with Tom's Hardware Guide. "Wireline carriers can use the technology and begin to offer wireless data services. You have to see WiMax really as a beyond-3G technology. 3G wireless carriers can look at this technology as a tool to offer the equivalent of fixed line services and potentially lower cost data services," he said.

    WiMax services are expected to offer a Bandwidth of about 75 Mbit per second and a range of about 31 miles. Commercial services are expected to be become available in 2006. According to the WiMax Forum, first WiMax product may become available as early as late this year.

    Source: Tom's Hardware

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