In an announcement that may or may not impact the cable industry, long-time WiMAX proponent Alvarion has decided to add Wi-Fi to its product mix with what a news release described as "an outdoor Wi-Fi access point with integrated power module capable of connecting to various commercial power sources for backhaul and network management software."

In other, nongarbled words: an end user Wi-Fi link from its WiMAX networks. While certainly not a white flag that WiMAX to the end user is a lost cause – "our ultimate goal is to have everything be WiMAX," said Carlton O’Neal, Alvarion’s marketing vice president – it is an admission that Wi-Fi is hot while WiMAX still simmers on a back burner.

"We recognize today the ubiquitous end user technology as far as broadband wireless is Wi-Fi," O’Neal said. "We have people who are demanding this converged solution."

O’Neal, living true to the vendor code, said he couldn’t name customers who are interested in the product solution. An educated guesser might throw cable into the mix, however.

"In general, the cable guys have been very interested in WiMAX as a new network technology that enables mobile," O’Neal conceded. "They might see a vision of a wireless cable modem a la wireless DSL. I can’t speak to any specific plan, but it is safe to say that cable guys are interested in WiMAX and how that might impact their move to triple play." WiMAX as mortar O’Neal sees WiMAX as a mortar that bonds different network elements.

"Every carrier we know has a gap, and WiMAX really can … fill that gap," said O’Neal.

Alvarion had a gap that WiMAX couldn’t fill, but Wi-Fi could.

"It’s really all about using Wi-Fi to get to the end user because of the ubiquity of Wi-Fi end user devices," he concluded. – Jim Barthold

The Daily

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