VoIP Systems

Cedar Point Plugs In WiMax

Cedar Point Communications Inc. , a VOIP specialist that historically has catered to cable, has added WiMax capabilities to its flagship Safari C3 Multimedia Switching System, a platform that packs several PacketCable network elements, including the call management server, into one device.

Cedar Point, which will demo the capability at next week's WiMax World USA show in Chicago, said the addition follows an initial voice-over-WiMax deployment with Grupo TVCable, the largest cable MSO in Ecuador. Wireless capabilities aside, Cedar Point has VOIP deployment with several major U.S. cable operators, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Charter Communications Inc. .

The voice-over-WiMax enhancement will apply to operators that are deploying services in greenfield environments or looking to extend their existing wired networks, says Mark Tubinis, Cedar Point's chief technology officer.

"We felt that, without a significant amount of change to our product, we can help new WiMax builds add voice to their WiMax build-outs in a cost-effective, efficient, and operationally simple way," he says. Voice, he adds, is a "no-brainer" in terms of adding services to the existing WiMax network. Further out, video could be added to the mix, along with mobility when 802.16e comes on the scene.

While most WiMax deployments start with data-oriented applications, operators typically aren't experienced enough with the technology to offer voice on top of it, Tubinis asserts.

Cable MSOs, meanwhile, could leverage WiMax to build wireless broadband plays. However, most of cable's recent deployment activity with wireless broadband extensions has leveraged WiFi technology. (See Bresnan Whips Up Wireless Strategy and Cisco Meshes With Cable.)

As for Grupo TVCable, the MSO is using the current fixed version of WiMax to extend its cable plant, but the operator also plans to look at 802.16e. Today, the WiMax devices on that network look "like any SIP endpoint originating on our system," Tubinis says.

Beyond that, Cedar Point's WiMax strategy is drumming up additional interest among other operators in South America as well as Europe. A third "pull" is coming from universities that have Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum and are considering how to capitalize on it.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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