By Stuart Wilson
Intel pushes ahead with WiMAX development plans by partnering with French networking and telecommunications kit vendor Alcatel.
Intel and Alcatel have formed a strategic alliance to work on the definition, standardisation, development, integration and marketing of WiMAX end-to-end solutions. The alliance is expected to deliver its first solutions during the second half of 2005.
“Alcatel's vision is to put the users at the centre,” stated Marc Rouanne, chief operating officer of Alcatel's mobile activities. “Our cooperation with Intel will help us provide users with a seamless broadband access experience, whether in the office, at home, on the pause or on the move.”
“Carriers will need strong vendors like Alcatel to ensure the reliability and scalability of carrier-class WiMAX deployments,” said Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of Intel Communications Group. “Alcatel's leading position in fixed and mobile broadband access together with Intel's expertise in leading the development and standardization of new technologies will help expedite the acceptance of WiMAX in the worldwide market for broadband services.”
WiMAX is being touted as the next generation wireless technology allowing super fast internet access over distances of up to 50km from the base station. Also known as 802.16, Intel expects to be building the technology into its chip platforms by 2006. WiMAX has great potential in urban areas but its attributes also position it as a potential threat to the billions telco operators are spending on 3G infrastructure. Although WiMAX has no voice transmission capabilities, the rise of voice-over IP technology could eventually make it a viable network for both voice and data.
As always, these early rounds of partnerships and joint initiatives are instrumental in resolving issues of standardisation with new technologies. In the case of WiMAX, this could be a difficult process given the position of telco operators and their suppliers with regards to the deployment of 3G networks.