Callplus trials WiMax

Kaikohe guinea pigs get 50Mbit/s service

Auckland telco Callplus has kicked off a trial of WiMax with the potential to offer 50Mbit/s to the home.

WiMax is a high-speed wireless last-mile standard that has received the backing of industry giants such as Intel.

The trial is taking place in Kaikohe, Northland, with Callplus providing both voice and data to the WiMax guinea pigs’ residences.

According to Malcolm Dick, executive director of Callplus, the WiMax setup is able to deliver “full quality voice services” as well as, potentially, speeds up to 50mbit/s in both directions. However, while Dick says that the trial is exceeding expectations, he doesn’t want to give out any further details about it, such as the actual performance achieved, or how much the service might cost.

WiMax is the marketing name for the IEEE 802.16 fixed-wireless standard, a networking technology that doesn’t require line-of-sight with the access point. WiMax is seen as a wireless local loop alternative, thanks to its ability to transmit data at high bit-rates, with quality of service parameters for applications such as voice.

Computerworld understands that Callplus trialled WiMax in the Gulf harbour, on the Whangapararoa pensinula, in September this year. The trials were conducted by Kiwi-Fi, a company run by Callplus director Martin Wylie and ex-PriceWaterhouseCoopers IT consultant Martyn Halsall.

Callplus co-founder Annette Presley says that Wylie and Halsall’s company isn’t involved in the Kaikohe, Northland, trial, however.

Wired Country, the wireless network operator set up by electricity company Counties Power but recently bought by Compass Communications, uses a pre-WiMax standard for its wireless network. As part of the sale of Wired Country, Counties Power sold half its spectrum rights to Telecom which previously had no capacity in the WiMax space. Compass Communications says it too will be moving to offer WiMax services nationally as soon as possible.

Broadcast network provider BCL is also discussing upgrading its wireless broadband network to the WiMax standard.

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