The WiMAX Forum announced the first ten Mobile WiMAX products received the WiMAX Forum Certified Seal of Approval for the 2.5 GHz profile (titled MP05) at the WiMAX Forum Global Congress in Amsterdam. The WiMAX Forum also revealed its roadmap for 3.5 and 2.3 GHz equipment certification during the show, with plans for equipment in the 3.5 GHz band to achieve certification by the end of 2008.
Following months of rigorous testing to ensure that each product met the strict WiMAX Forum interoperability and conformance standards, the announcement included four base stations and six mobile station modules (also known as terminals) operating in the 2.5 GHz frequency band from eight WiMAX Forum member companies, including Airspan Networks, Alvarion Ltd., Beceem Communications Inc., Intel Corporation, Motorola Inc., Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd., Sequans Communications and ZyXEL. All of the newly certified 2.5 GHz mobile station modules passed the mandatory MIMO testing protocols.
"With the unwavering support of our members, the WiMAX Forum team has fulfilled our promise to ensure that WiMAX operators have the certified equipment and devices needed to deliver mobile internet services that consumers want," said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum, during a news conference in Amsterdam. "With the successful completion of extensive 2.5 GHz testing, we've laid the groundwork to speed up additional profile certifications and ultimately to continue advancing global WiMAX deployments at a record pace."
Alvarion Ltd., Motorola Inc., Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd. and Sequans Communications each received the WiMAX Forum Certified Seal of Approval for a 2.5 GHz base station. Airspan Networks, Beceem Communications Inc., Intel Corporation, Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd., Sequans Communications and ZyXEL each received the WiMAX Forum Certified Seal of Approval for a 2.5 GHz mobile station module.
These 2.5 GHz products were certified at the WiMAX Forum's lead certification testing laboratory, which is operated by AT4 wireless in Malaga, Spain. Products achieving Mobile WiMAX certification were tested for functionality that supports mobility through rigorous testing including interoperability amongst vendor equipment and MIMO capabilities. This achievement of being designated as WIMAX Forum Certified ensures confidence in the interoperability of WiMAX products for the 305 service providers deploying WiMAX services in 118 countries worldwide.
The WiMAX Forum estimates that more than 100 Mobile WiMAX products will be certified by the end of 2008, and by 2011 more than 1,000 products will undergo Mobile WiMAX certification. The WiMAX Forum plans to stay ahead of the demand for certification with a robust global lab infrastructure, including six WiMAX Forum partner labs that are now open and ready to accept products for certification testing in China, Korea, Spain, U.S., along with two labs in Taiwan, ADT and TTC/CS. The WiMAX Forum plans to open two more certification labs by the end of 2008 in India and Japan and an additional lab in Brazil in 2009 in order to support the anticipated growing demands in those regions.
3.5 GHz WiMAX Forum Certified Products Here by Year-End
Certification of 2.5 GHz equipment has set the baseline for subsequent profiles, speeding up the testing cycle for all equipment in the future. The WiMAX Forum also announced today that it will begin to accept certification applications for 3.5 GHz equipment during 3Q 2008, with testing to begin in 4Q 2008 and certification completed for those products before the end of the year.
"We are setting an industry precedent by conducting certification in a way that it has never been done before," added Resnick. "To ensure interoperability for global operators and consumers, the WiMAX Forum supports the end-to-end certification process from equipment development, to test equipment validation and finally product certification. The WiMAX Forum is the only consortium to certify base station equipment which is key to ensure true network interoperability and a high quality of service among user devices and network equipment."
The 3.5 GHz band includes the validation and certification of three profiles based on channel bandwidths of 5, 7, and 10 MHz. The WiMAX Forum also plans in 2008 to accelerate the building of certification infrastructure for 2.3GHz products (5MHz and 10MHz channels), in order to drive certification of 2.3 products as soon as possible.
Industry Impact of WiMAX Forum Certified Equipment
The WiMAX Forum Subscriber and User Forecast Study projects that by 2012 there will be more than 133 million WiMAX users globally and approximately 70 percent of forecasted WiMAX users will utilize mobile and portable WiMAX devices to access broadband Internet services.
A key WiMAX Forum objective is to ensure the sale of interoperable certified products in the retail channel and eliminate the subsidy burden to operators. Selling WiMAX products at retail will spawn a larger base of innovative products targeting many new service models, compared to the existing service models in place today. These service models will satisfy demand for low cost devices, with no subsidy required, and customers will be able to buy a product and choose the specific operator from which to purchase a WiMAX service.
"This major milestone is significant for not just WiMAX ecosystem progress, it highlights the near term reality of new data services on innovative devices," said Barry West, president of Sprint's XOHM business unit. "Customers will soon benefit from the global momentum behind WiMAX, including cost efficiencies, interoperability and roaming."