The UK is ready for mainstream WiMax rollouts, according to WiMax provider Alvarion and MLL Telecom following the success of a trail network built for the Mobile WiMax Acceleration Group (M-WAG).
The pilot network was launched in Maidstone in July 2008 and has been used to test a wide variety of applications including public safety networks, CCTV and enterprise mobility applications such as mobile data, VoIP and video streaming.
M-WAG is a consortium of companies formed to create a WiMax ecosystem in the UK to demonstrate the business case for the technology in anticipation of Ofcom's auction of the 2.6GHz spectrum, which is expected to take place during 2010.
"The success of this trial shows the maturity of WiMax technology,” said Eddie Minshull, chief executive officer of MLL Telecom.
"We have been proactively managing the network on a 24 x 7 basis and found it to be extremely stable. With the right sort of planning and design expertise, WiMax is now ready for mainstream use."
The network was built on Alvarion technology and implemented and managed by MLL with the support of Maidstone Borough Council.
Over the course of the year several public- and private-sector trials were run on the network. These included Kent Fire and Rescue Service testing real-time video and communications between an incident scene, a mobile command unit and the headquarters control room, as well as IP-based video surveillance and mobile working for Maidstone Borough Council employees.
"As evident from our many commercial Mobile WiMax deployments around the world, the technology is here and ready in the UK as well," said Zeev Strahl, regional director from Alvarion.
"M-WAG has brought together several leading companies across the telecoms and media industries to build a state-of-the-art Mobile WiMax showcase in the UK. The results of these trials will show unique capabilities of WiMax necessary for multiple market segments in UK."
Despite the success of this trial, many industry commentators see Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the likely candidate for the next generation of mobile data access in the UK, with WiMax being used in more developing nations.
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