Walker Wireless ditches MMDS

Line of sight and service issues are the reasons Walker Wireless ditched MMDS technology, says managing director Bob Smith.

Line of sight and service issues are the reasons Walker Wireless ditched MMDS technology, says managing director Bob Smith.

The company had been planning to use the broadband wireless internet technology to add to its services, but has decided to move to another, as yet unspecified, technology.

“We’ve been conducting extensive research into technology since the beginning of the year and we’ve decided to leapfrog a technology [ie MMDS] and move forward to a new technology,” Smith says.

Walker’s services presently use spectrum around 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. MMDS typically uses the same ranges.

Smith wouldn’t reveal what the new technology is but did say it will be trialled in April and, if the trials are successful, deployed from July to September. He also said that the new technology operates in the same 1098 band as MMDS.

The new technology is “non-line of sight”, and it will be easier to determine if a customer can or can’t be hooked up, Smith says.

The decision to move away from MMDS means Walker Wireless now has surplus staff, he says. He wouldn’t disclose how many of the company’s approximately 60 staff may lose their jobs “because we’re still in consultation with them”.

The company’s involvement with MMDS didn’t go far enough that any agreements were broken by the move to the new techno-logy, Smith says.

In August the company said it expected to be deploying MMDS (multimedia distribution system) by the end of the year. MMDS uses licensed spectrum which Walker Wireless paid $4 million for at auction. MMDS has a range of 35km to receivers within line of sight.

Non-line of sight wireless is a recent phenomenon - Cisco and several other US-based companies have developed technologies which deliver it, but they are not yet widely deployed.

Cisco's offering is VOFDM (vector orthagonal frequency division multiplexing), which the company says "allows wireless operation in obstructed, non-line of sight environments by taking advantage of multipath signals and diversity reception."

Iospan wireless, based in California, has developed MIMO-OFDM (multiple input, multiple output orthagonal frequency division multiplexing), which, Iospan says "uses multipoint antennas to both transmit and receive radio signals."

Iospan's website claims MIMO-OFDM "is the only technology that will allow service providers to deploy a broadband wireless access system that has truly non-line of sight functionality."

Texas-based Navini Networks' site says the company's technology allows non-line of sight operation.

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