The WiMAX industry has passed another significant milestone as the first mobile products to be certified at 2.5GHz, and using Wave 2, were unveiled by the WiMAX Forum on the first day of the Global Congress event in Amsterdam.

Eight suppliers received the WiMAX Forum Certified stamp of approval for a total of ten Wave 2 Phase 1 products, which use MIMO and smart antenna technology, in channel bandwidths of 5MHz and 10MHz.

Alvarion, Motorola, Samsung and Sequans each had base stations certified at 2.5GHz, while Beceem, Airspan, Intel and ZyXEL-along with Samsung and Sequans-had mobile station modules (terminals) certified.

“The testing programme has been extraordinarily complex, but we have done what we have said we will do,” says Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum, in conversation with “It shows we can deliver.”

The WiMAX Forum also announced plans to start certifying Mobile WiMAX products in the 3.5GHz frequency band by the end of 2008, with testing to begin during 3Q 2008. The 3.5GHz band will include validation and certification of three profiles based on channel bandwidths of 5MHz, 7MHz and 10MHz.

Mobile WiMAX product certification at 2.5GHz was welcomed by Samsung. “WiMAX is now truly global with 2.5GHz certification,” says Joonho Park, head of standards and industry initiatives at the Korea-headquartered supplier. “It opens up a global market not only for Samsung but for all suppliers.”

Samsung was among four suppliers to receive the first ever WiMAX Forum certification for mobile products at the Congress Asia even held in Singapore in April, but that was for the relatively niche profile of 2.3GHZ (and 8.75MHz channels) to suit the requirements of the Korean market.With the groundwork now laid for Wave 2 testing, the WiMAX Forum expects the pace of Mobile WiMAX product certification to increase significantly across all profiles, going from more than 100 certified products by the end of 2008 to more than 1,000 by the end of 2011. Certification of Wave-2 Phase-2 2.5GHz products is expected to start mid-2009.

“All our testing labs are up and running,” adds Resnick, “and are certifying mobile products as they are submitted.”

The WiMAX Forum has currently six testing labs: one in the US, Spain, China, Korea, and two in Taiwan. It plans to open another two testing labs later this year-one in India and one in Japan-as well as another in Brazil in 2009.

Product certification, of course, leads to greater confidence among operators and consumers. And given that the likes of Sprint Nextel, which uses 2.5GHz Mobile WiMAX equipment, is opting to distribute devices through independent consumer outlets, the need for certification becomes even greater.  

“This is a radically different retail model from the cellular world,” says Resnick. “But customers using WiMAX Forum certified devices will have an assurance on interoperability.”

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