Sequans Plots Mobility

French startup Sequans Communications says that it intends to be the first to deliver a mobile WiMax chipset suitable for portable devices such as handsets and laptops in the first half of 2006.

The firm has already been working on interoperability testing for its first 802.16d fixed WiMax products with infrastructure customer Airspan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRN). The world is still waiting for news of the offical interoperability tests by the WiMAX Forum, which are due to start this month. (See WiMax Waits on Testing.)

Plenty of other vendors are pushing mobile WiMax chipsets, but Sequans claims the power consumption of its offering will be low enough to allow it to be used in portable devices.

"It will use 350 millowatts in active mode," says Bernard Aboussouan. "And less than 10 in sleep mode."

And the firm's take on how both fixed and mobile WiMax will be deployed is somewhat different from the view of other industry commentators.

"We see covering dense populations in metropolitan areas," says Sequans's CEO Georges Karam.

For such deployments, he sees micro and pico base stations as a big part of the market. These are WiMax nodes that could be installed in a city -- usually on a pole or the side of a building -- that would cover a limited area (typically 1 to 2 kilometers) and tens of users, but cost just a couple of thousand dollars and be easy to install.

"Think of it as a super access point," says Karam.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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