Light Reading

Sprint Taking WiMax Indoors

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is already examining a number of different options for providing robust indoor coverage over the WiMax network it is planning to launch in the U.S. at the end of the year and through 2008. The Reston, Va.-based operator wants to ensure that corporate and campus sites can get high-speed wireless broadband over the network indoors and out, Bin Shen, Sprint Nextel's VP of Broadband tells Unstrung in an interview this morning.

Although the company has already named its major cell site infrastructure vendors for the deployment -- Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Samsung Corp. -- Shen says that the operator has been making "some inquiries" about WiMax "pico cells and micro cells" for in-building applications.

"We need to make sure we can address specific markets with WiMax," says Shen. As well as corporate in-building and campus deployments, these could include shopping malls and conference centers.

To this end, the operator is examining a number of WiFi options -- from small cells that link to the Internet over Ethernet cable to more standard cellular-style distributed antenna systems. "It depends on the situation," says Shen. "There is no kind of uniform way that we can do this."

It is clear that if Sprint gets close to some of its indoor WiMax aims, the technology could become more of a threat to large-scale WiFi deployments than it has been before. Shen says the operator wants WiMax in-building systems that are "as cheap as the WiFi solution."

Sprint isn't saying yet who some of its suppliers might be for its varied mini-WiMax requirements. "We can't disclose that," Shen says. There are, however, a diverse collection of vendors working on smaller WiMax networking gear -- from Adaptix Inc. to mesh networking firm Tropos Networks Inc. Indoor wireless specialist RadioFrame Networks Inc. has also started to look at WiMax as a transport mechanism. (See Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field and Femtocells Gear Up for 3GSM.)

The operator might take a leaf out of the WiFi playbook with regards to funding some of these small-scale deployments. Shen says Sprint has a "flexible business model" when it comes to indoor deployments and may seek out large corporations, conference centers, and shopping malls to "participate in the in-building build-out of WiMax." He likened this to the way that WiFi hotspots can be deployed in such places today. "They could chose to fund that," Shen says.

Sprint's major infrastructure suppliers are putting undisclosed sums towards the initial roll out of the operator's planned $3 billion nationwide WiMax network in the U.S., so some alternative thinking from the operator about funding this network should not be so surprising. Although Shen stresses that the hotspot-like model is "just one option." (See Sprint Picks Nokia for WiMax.)

Nonetheless, he wholeheartedly embraces the idea that Sprint Nextel is thinking differently with this new deployment. "We're not building a WiMax network to be another cellular network," Shen says. "We want it to be the future of the mobile Internet."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|25|15   |   11:36   |   (0) comments

Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
Following the Bouncing Capex Ball
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/29/2015
Good News for NFV Interoperability
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here