WiMax Gets 'Smart'
Both firms are working with members of the WiMax Forum to try and improve the radio signal transmission characteristics of the underlying 802.16a technology by incorporating “smart antennas” into the specification.
ArrayComm hasn’t gone public with its involvement yet, but it is working on using the adaptive array antenna products with WiMax and has already made some co-filings on the standard in conjunction with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and others, according to Marc Goldburg, CTO at ArrayComm (see ArrayComm Has Its Chips). Goldburg explains that ArrayComm wants to improve the RF propagation of WiMax. This is so that the technology will work better for users connected via radio cards and modems inside a building, as well as the more traditional fixed wireless boxes mounted on the outside.
Naturally, improving signal strength and propagation is even more important when the user moves around, and this appears to be where Navini is targeting its work with the WiMax Forum.
Navini is working to incorporate some of its own “phased array” antenna technology into the 802.16a revision e of the spec, which adds mobile handoff capabilities to the current -- fixed wireless -- revision d of the standard.
“Phased array technology means multiple antennas that allow the systems to "steer" RF energy,” writes a Navini spokesperson in an email response to questions. “This approach provides additional gain, which is required to achieve broadband data rates in mobile and non-line of sight metro area coverage (two to five miles).”
Regular readers may be surprised to see Navini joining the WiMax Forum, since the firm roundly slagged the organization 12 months ago and threw its lot in with the rival 802.20 specification (see Enter the MAN Haters).
Well, what a difference a year makes. “Navini is in full support of operator requirements,” says the Navini spokesperson. “Working Group 802.16 has stepped up to the plate with the newly created Revision e of 802.16 standard, which has these requirements as deliverables.” [Ed. Note: We’ve really no idea what that means either, but we take it they like WiMax now.]
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung