The emerging WiMax wireless wide area networking technology has received a boost with the arrival of the first integrated circuit to comply with the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard.
Wavesat, the smallest of the three main developers of WiMax integrated circuits, has announced the availability of its sixth generation OFDM chip, the DM256.
According to Philip Solis, senior analyst for wireless connectivity at ABI Research, the development marks a "milestone" in the development of WiMax infrastructures.
ABI Research's recent study noted that Wavesat has achieved its stated goal of beating rival WiMax firms Intel and Fujitsu to be first to market with IEEE-compliant silicon.
However, the study warned that this first chip is a baseband-only unit, and that Wavesat's much larger competitors are breathing down its neck.
Wavesat has enlisted Atmel to build the radio component, and is itself developing subscriber unit Mac software and complete base station and subscriber unit reference designs. But ABI noted that much work remains before full commercial WiMax kit can begin shipping.
"As a smaller company, Wavesat can be more nimble and has stolen this first march, but Intel and Fujitsu already have secured relationships with customers which will wait until they release their own products early next year," said Solis.
"And when those milestones occur, Wavesat's huge adversaries will have much greater production capacity."
The report also warned that delays could yet arise as the newly developed chips must still go through WiMax certification.
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