The new network, marketed under Xplornet, is a combination of satellite networks and terrestrial wireless based on WiMax that is software-upgradable to TD-LTE. Barrett is using Tellab's SmartCore 9160 platform to manage the IP traffic and capacity as the operator signs up more subs to the network. Tellabs will also help with the network design and integration required to get up and running.
Why this matters
Xplornet's plan to start with WiMax and upgrade to LTE rather than just do LTE in the first place is unique for a greenfield deployment, but this is the path the Canadian operator has been carving. It chose Alvarion Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR) last fall to provide the technology to help it move from WiMax toward TD-LTE. (See Alvarion Hearts TD-LTE and Alvarion Wins in Canada.)
While the end makes sense, its choice to start with WiMax, knowing it'll have to move to LTE, is interesting. A Tellabs spokeswoman says that several of its operator customers are going this route because the WiMax standards are more mature and cost effective. Tellabs Smartcore platform can support both on the same system, and Barrett will have to make the move once LTE becomes more common, even in the spectrum WiMax occupies today.
Other wireless operators have explored making the move from WiMax to LTE. Check out the following stories for more:
- Going WiMax to LTE Down Under
- Sprint Gives 'Leapfrog' Details
- WiMax Finds Short-Term Niche in 4G M2M
- ZTE Unveils WiMax/TD-LTE Unit
- CommunicAsia 2010: Two Techs Set for 4G OK
- Yota: WiMax + LTE for Russia
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile