A WiMAX infrastructure will let service
providers deliver VoIP to rural areas without a backhoe.
AT&T and Covad have revealed their intention to use WiMAX technology
to provide VoIP and data services to rural areas to avoid local access
charges. The announcement earlier this month clears up the mystery
surrounding the service providers' membership in the WiMAX Forum:
Apparently, instead of trenching fiber everywhere, as Verizon is
doing, they will deliver VoIP services over a less expensive wireless
VoIP over WiMAX is attractive for both enterprises and carriers, but
challenges remain. First, no WiMAX-certified equipment has yet been
released--though some shipments are expected in 2005, just in time for
AT&T and Covad's plans. Second, the initial WiMAX equipment will be
certified in the 2.5- and 3.5-GHz spectrum ranges. The 2.5-GHz
spectrum is owned largely by Sprint and Nextel, while the 3.5-GHz
spectrum is not available for use in the United States. This means
that any near-term WiMAX equipment deployment will likely use
unlicensed spectrum, which carries the risk of interference from other
Organizations seeking a quick way to provide connectivity to branch
offices should consider using high-speed wireless, even if it's
pre-WiMAX. AT&T and Covad's announcement should help confirm that
wireless VoIP can be made reliable and cost-effective.
Wi-LAN and Quintum Technologies have
teamed to provide enterprise ISPs and service providers VoIP via
The joint effort between VoIP technology specialist Quintum and Wi-LAN,
one of the biggest proponents of WiMAX, includes design and
installation of the PBX connection, VoIP gateways and wireless point
to multi-point systems.
The Wi-LAN backhaul uses the company's 'pre-WiMAX' solution that is
guaranteed upgradeable to the emerging wireless broadband standard.
The companies say combining Wi-LAN's
wireless network technology with Quintum's patented MultiPath
Architecture based switch, dubbed the Tenor, would allow service
providers and WISPs to penetrate new markets by allowing them to
bypass the incumbent telco.
They suggest the combined system can be used to connect securely
multiple locations with both data and VoIP Services. The architecture
allows for simple integration into existing voice and data networks,
while providing failover and redundancy.
John Seliga, Vice President of Marketing of Wi-LAN, commented: "This
solution allows us to deploy Tenors on both the customer premises and
service provider access points, minimizing the disruption to the
existing network infrastructure that is common with traditional VoIP