Certifiably Committed to WiMAX Standards
Interoperability is more and more becoming a reality for a WiMAX market which has leapt at the opportunity to deploy high-speed, efficient, mobile broadband. I was at our Richardson, TX, offices recently meeting with our mobile broadband team, and they highlighted that just as much as we have pursued standards and interoperability efforts on the fixed side, we’re very much pursuing it with our new mobile technologies as well.In fact, Cisco achieved WiMAX forum certification last month for the BWX8305 WiMAX base station. To pass the required tests, the base station had to successfully interoperate with several WiMAX modem devices made by third parties. The certification covered 2.5GHz spectrum, as that is the current focus of the forum so far – other spectrum such as 3.5 GHz will be included soon, with 2.3 and 3.3 GHz coming later. What such interoperability ultimately enables is more choice, lower prices, and new, cool applications for subscribers. For providers, it means more innovation in terms of business models, partnerships, and rapid service deployment/monetization. Today, a WiMAX service provider, such as Xanadoo or Xohm (maybe it’s just me, but the X names always seem cooler- and seem to be quite the trend with WiMAX-) more or less are tied to buying all their subscriber devices from the same base station vendor, whether Cisco, or Motorola, Alvarion, Alcatel or Samsung. Because the vendors don’t get much volume at the early part of market trend while still incurring costs to design, manufacture, test, store and ship the modems, standard economics takes hold and their cost per unit can be higher than it would be if they could reap economies of scale – this can end up making the margins not great for the vendor or operator and the pricing not as good as it could be for the user. While there will always be some that prefer to keep things solely proprietary, many vendors (Cisco included) would like to give providers more opportunities to craft their network and service offer to their customers as they see fit. This interoperability testing is just one of the many things we do, often outside the public view, to help make sure that is possible.