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Wireless News Nuggets

Europe, Unwired
The European Commission finally decided to open up 5GHz spectrum to allow widespread use of 802.11a wireless LAN networks on the old continent this week.

The Commission's decision opens up two new radio spectrum bands (5159-5350MHz and 5470-5725MHz) across member countries. The ruling is due to be implemented by member states by October 31, 2005.

It's taken years for this EU-wide ruling to come about, although some countries -- like the U.K. -- didn't wait for the Commission to get its act together, and made its own individual rulings to open up the airwaves (see Europe's Wireless Wakeup Call). And companies like Philips Semiconductors (NYSE: PHG) also worked with regulators to get individual clearance (see Europe Reaches Wireless LAN Milestone).

Still, the time is clearly ripe for this ruling, as Europe is diving headfirst into the fixed/mobile convergence game with services like "Fusion" (a.k.a. "Bluephone"), which is eventually expected to use voice over WLAN alongside cellular connectivity (see BT Unveils FMC Service). The 802.11a specification is seen by some in the industry as a better wireless transport for voice and multimedia applications since it offers many more available channels than 802.11b or g, which both run on the more crowded 2.4GHz frequency.

Another Startup on the Vine
Adaptix Inc., the broadband wireless startup born from the ashes of Broadstorm Telecommunications, demonstrated its so-called mobile "Pre-WiMax" system at the WiMAX Forum meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

In this case, when Adaptix says "Pre-WiMax", it's talking kindergarten early, because the firm is using OFDMA modulation techniques that are expected to be included in the mobile WiMax specification based on the 802.16e specification, which hasn't even been ratified yet. Official mobile WiMax products probably won't be on the market much before the end of 2006 or into 2007 (see WiMax: A Spec Divided).

Nonetheless, Adaptix has reached an agreement to supply channel cards to LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) for upcoming WiBro deployments in South Korea. WiBro is a mobile wireless broadband technology that is expected to be very similar to the eventual 802.16e specification.

Sun King
Finally, the Rocky Mountain News reports that the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colo. has a hot new addition.

No, not the matching his'n'her ski socks, silly, but solar-powered WiFi hotspots. Funded to the tune of $10,000 by the Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District, startup Lumin Innovative Products LLC installed three wireless access points powered by solar battery packs. The startup tells the paper it eventually hopes that its products will used in deserts and other regions with limited access to electricity [ed note: New Jersey?].

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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