Motorola Powers Up WiMAX with WAP 450  

Motorola announced today that it is expanding their wi4 WiMAX access point portfolio with the introduction of the new 802.16e Wave 2-ready WAP 450. The WAP 450 access point uses the recently announced 4G common broadband base control unit.

It has a smaller common equipment cabinet and a more powerful tower-top RF module than the 400 series (right), delivering up to 10 watts of power output per sector at the antenna port. That’s comparable to 20 watts or more power of a traditional ground base station which typically looses half of its power in the RF cables, says Motorola.

The new product will be available in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequency bands commonly used by WiMAX operators worldwide.

The WAP 450 is WiMAX Wave 2-ready and incorporates diversity antenna techniques which allow the realization of Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) capability offering greater range performance, improved in building penetration along with full mobility support.

With an ultra light infrastructure, highly integrated design, and very low power consumption, is said to speed installation and simplifies infrastructure.

The WAP 450 is scheduled to be available in Q4 2008 in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands and Q1 2009 in the 3.5 GHz frequency band.

Clearwire is rolling out Mobile WiMAX in the Portland region using Motorola gear. Here’s an installation near the DailyWireless office I shot last week.

For the last four years, Scott Richardson, the chief strategy officer for Clearwire, has heard every year that “this is the year of WiMAX.” Richardson laughs now when asked if 2008 is the “year of WiMAX”, says Wireless Week. But, he says, “I think clearly WiMAX has gone through the hype cycle and now it is a reality.”

Clearwire, founded in 2003 by Craig McCaw, launched its first market, Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004 and now has 50 commercial markets. Four of those are foreign markets, in Europe and Mexico. It has more than 400,000 subscribers, growing subscribers in 2007 at a 91% clip through 14 new market launches and increases in existing markets.

Clearwire has been using pre-WiMAX equipment for its first markets but started trials with mobile WiMAX infrastructure in 2007, including Portland, Ore. It plans to start installing WiMAX equipment in the second half of 2008, although the operator hasn’t detailed how it will do that. Richardson says Clearwire may use dual-mode devices to support both technologies and may overlay WiMAX equipment on its existing markets.

Motorola demonstrated live handoffs using mobile WiMAX on different basestations today in Singapore. Participants in a bus tour are able to experience various mobile applications including video conferencing, web browsing and mobile streaming while moving past access point sites along the bus route. The WiMAX Forum Congress Asia 2008 is being held in Singapore this week.

In related news, Siemens introduced their SE68 WiMAX Express Card which combines two integrated antennas which support MIMO (Matrix A and B) and adaptive beamforming to boost signal strength between the base station and WiMAX devices. It also employs Space-Time-Coding (STC) and Spatial Multiplexing (SM) to improve coverage and effectively double the data throughput. Siemens WiMAX portfolio also includes WIMAX devices as well as home media products such as set-top boxes.

The WiMAX World EMEA Exhibition will be held May 19-21, in Munich. It’s co-located with the Mobile Internet World Europe Summit.

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