Nortel to broaden its WiMAX offerings

Nortel is broadening its partnerships with WiMAX-related companies as it prepares to release new offerings for carriers and service providers utilizing the broadband wireless technology.

At last week’s WiMAX World conference in Chicago the telecommunications software and equipment maker touted a number of deals which it says will allow providers to offer a wide variety of WiMAX solutions beyond backhaul.

“WiMAX has finally come to market,” said Regina Moldovan, who leads Nortel’s WiMAX marketing team. “So what do you do with it to generate significant revenue? You can generate revenue with plain broadband data access, but we found that buy layering on applications such as voice over IP, such as unified communications for enterprises, operators can reduce their payback time.”

The moves include

an agreement to use WiChorus Inc.’s Home Agent in WiMAX solutions for providers. As part of the connectivity services network are a number of elements including a so-called home agent, whose database capabilities allows the management of customers in a mobile environment.

“That’s a really critical part of the core network,” said Moldovan, “because it enables mobile subscriber and content management.”

a “refreshed” partnership with smartphone maker Quanta Computer to include a new WiMAX-enabled wireless handset. There’s also a pact with Quanta and Accton Wireless Broadband of Taiwan to deliver Nortel-branded WiMAX devices, including PCMCIA data cards and USB adapters for PCs and laptops, indoor gateways and window-mount antennas. These devices, for the 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5Ghz frequencies, are scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year.

an extension of a deal with IBM, which already embeds Nortel’s multimedia communication system in Lotus Notes/Domino e-mail and collaboration platform. Now that integration includes the ability to work over WiMAX devices. That will allow WiMAX operators to add an enterprise-based unified communications solutions, Moldovan said, giving users the ability to make SIP-based calls from Notes.

–the launch of a “VoIP to the MAX” marketing campaign to offer a end-to-end carrier grade Linux-based VoIP solution that can run over WiMAX. It consists of Nortel’s Mobile WiMAX base stations and the upcoming Adaptive Application Engine (A2E) server, which includes residential and SMB IP voice and multimedia features. A2E will be released early next year.

“Because it its all-software based it reduces the amount of investment an operator needs to make in terms of getting into [hosted] voice over IP. Not only that, its highly-scalable. It can go basically from zero up to a million subscribers. “And especially for WiMAX where you have a lot of new entrants and greenfield operators, its really critical to enable (providers) that are software-based and don’t require all this hunky hardware.”

Nortel’s announcement was one of many made at the show.

Redline Communications of Markham, Ont., launched its MAX + AN-80i radio for cellular backhaul or enterprise services. It operates in the 3.3 to 3.8 GHz WiMAX bands, enabling operators to cover 500 MHz of spectrum with a single software configurable radio solution. Redline said the model can be used by mobile operators looking for a licensed band alternative to point-to-point microwave technologies, especially when deploying small cells in urban environments.

PCTEL, Inc. showed off its new wideband WiMAX base station antenna series with what the Illinois company said are improved coverage characteristics. The wideband antennas — available in both 28-inch and 48-inch radomes — cover 2.3-2.7GHz frequency bands and are available with a variety of gain and beam-width options to cover deployment scenarios in urban, suburban and rural environments. The antennas are designed with single and double null fill capability that resolve coverage issues for subscribers closer to the base station.

Berkley Varitronics Systems (BVS) trumpeted its YellowFin Mobile WiMAX analyzer, a portable calibrated, demodulating WiMAX test receiver. The handheld unit marries Samsung’s Q1 Ultra Premium tablet UMPC with Berkeley’s receiver technology for complete spectrum analysis as well as WiMAX packet demodulation. The receiver sweeps the 2.0 – 5.9 GHz spectrums to within +1.5 dB accuracy.

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