Intel Corp and Motorola Inc have said they would collaborate to promote mobile WiMax and address interoperability issues between WiMax network equipment and devices equipped with Intel products.
The agreement does not mean Motorola has committed to using Intel silicon, said Paul Sergeant, director of marketing for WiMax at Motorola.
And Intel announced in June a similar WiMax partnership with Nokia and said it was working with a number of major OEMs and carriers around the world to push the development and use of WiMax, an Intel spokesperson said.
Motorola also said it would not develop products based on the 802.16d WiMax spec, ratified by the IEEE last year, which supports fixed WiMax. Instead, Motorola is working on products that support 802.16e, which is expected to be published by IEEE later this year.
Motorola has gone with the version e WiMax spec because it supports both fixed and mobile WiMax, and because it is a more advanced fixed spec than version d, Sergeant said.
We think the bigger market will be for revision e, he said.
Equipment built on the version e spec is not compatible with that built on version d, he added.
Motorola expects to ship its first WiMax product based on version e in the second quarter of 2006, with general availability slated for later that year. The company is working on ultra light WiMax infrastructure, which can be deployed virtually anywhere, unlike cellular systems that use large towers, Sergeant said.
Ultra light WiMax outdoor access points could be deployed on lampposts, water taps and building roofs, for example. An indoor modem would sit on the desktop, he said. The coverage range would typically be less than one mile.
Motorola also is working on a more traditional cellular-style WiMax network that would be deployed using the cell tower system. It would have higher-powered, higher-coverage access points and would work with the ultra-light indoor modems, he said. Motorola expects to enter trials of this as yet unnamed infrastructure with Sprint in the US sometime next year. The coverage range would be comparable to cellular, Sergeant said.
Intel plans to next year ship WiMax silicon for some notebooks and PDAs, said company spokesperson Amy Martin. Mobile WiMax (802.16e) services, such as WIBRO in Korea, will begin entering the market in 2006, but they will be deployed more widely in the 2007-2008 timeframe and Intel plans to deliver solutions that enable mobile WiMax in handsets, PDAs and new devices, she said.
Notebooks and other devices equipped with 802.16e silicon would be directly operable with Motorola WiMax access points and would not require an additional modem, Motorola’s Sergeant said.
Motorola also is working on multi-mode mobile phones that would be able to switch between WiMax, WiFi and cellular networks. Sergeant declined to say when the device would likely reach the market.