Feeds

WiMAX trials speed up

First mobile tests plus a wireless county

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Every week brings new real world trials of WiMAX standards, raising expectations of an earlier boom than anticipated once Intel and Fujitsu roll out their low cost silicon in early 2004.

This week, we have one of the first trials of the upcoming mobile version of WiMAX, 802.16e, and Intel backing what could be the first WiMAX county in the US. Nomad Digital Rail (NDR) is testing on-train Wi-Fi and 802.16e systems in the UK and claims that most train operators have expressed interest in its system, not just for business applications but for delivering on-board entertainment such as television, for security functions such as remote surveillance, and for monitoring vehicle conditions such as heating. NDR is looking to use the mobile version of WiMAX, 802.16e, in future deployments to deliver the same applications at higher speed than Wi-Fi, although it will roll out 802.11 until the ‘e’ variant is standardized.

The ideal will be integration of station-based Wi-Fi hotspots with 802.16e in the train itself, since the faster standard is optimized for moving vehicles, and can provide lower cost backhaul than satellite.

The communications engine for the Nomad system has been developed by the UK’s Brand Communications. This automatically manages data devices and aggregates bandwidth from whatever is in range along a given route, whether this is cellular, Wi-Fi, microwave or satellite.

The system monitors performance and integrity of each data pipe to optimize its use and provides roaming between different systems. Finally, the engine has a web optimizer that ensures that heavy graphics are optimized for wireless connections. Nomad estimates that, with a projected 3.8m Wi-Fi users in the UK by 2006, and over 1bn rail journeys being made, the market for its services should grow steadily.

Across the pond, Houston County, Georgia, is poised to be the first county in the US to have blanket wireless coverage using WiMAX technology. Intel is backing the project and, if it comes to fruition, will use Houston as a proof of concept for the WiMAX technology it is promoting so assiduously. Terry Smithson, education marketing manager at Intel, said a successful roll-out in Houston could lead to WiMAX-based services being extended to large areas of Georgia. "I would like to highlight Georgia nationally as a state that other states should look to to move into a wireless model," he said. There are still many details to be hammered out, not least who will pay the $2m bill for building communications towers and setting up the business systems, which is likely to be split between the municipal authority and local businesses that can make use of the service.

Intel is likely to provide the equipment via one of its WiMAX solutions partners and will provide experts to help set up the system. The county will also have to find an internet service provider. Local councils will vote on whether to give the project the go-ahead in the next couple of weeks.

Smithson said coverage for the whole county is likely to require two towers, each with a 30 mile radius, and pricing would be around $15 to $30 a month for end users, plus a $25 PC card. Intel has chosen Houston to be its prospective WiMAX flagship because it is in an area with many hi-tech companies and military contractors, and because of a recent project with the county local high school. Intel donated a $30,000 wireless technology laboratory to the school and has carried out various education-oriented tests there using tablet PCs and other technology.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.