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Navini Rips BT a Trial

It's been a busy, busy week in the world of broadband wireless -- even in merry ol' England -- where startup Navini Networks Inc. is providing BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) with so-called "portable... pre-WiMax" equipment for a mobile broadband trial in Birmingham and various other areas.

Portable and pre-WiMax is obviously a bit of a mouthful, but Navini's VP of product management and strategic marketing, Sai Subramanian, claims the firm's Riptide products support connectivity at "pedestrian speeds" as the signal moves between base stations. [Ed. note: The rate the traffic moves in parts of Birmingham, it'll probably support "vehicular speeds" as well.]

"BT wants to test what types of services they can offer with 802.16e," says Subramanian.

The marketing man also claims that, while Navini's kit is currently considered proprietary, it will be upgradeable to 802.16e once it is standardized. It's hard to say exactly when official mobile WiMax gear based on the 802.16e will be available, although most analysts point to late 2006 or early 2007 as probable release times.

Meanwhile, Navini will keep pushing its Riptide product line, as the company has no part in the fixed wireless products that are just now undergoing interoperability testing.

"We're not playing in that game at all," says Subramanian.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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