Friday, March 21, 2008

Wi-Fi and Wimax together, not in competition

WiMAX Is Well Suited For Wide Area Networks, Wi-Fi Is Cost-Effective For a Wide Range of Local Clients

Sunnyvale, CA, March 20, 2008 - Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARUN), a global leader in wireless LANs and secure unified mobility solutions, today announced the availability of a new white paper on Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) that explores the strengths and weaknesses of this technology for delivering broadband wireless services to fixed and mobile clients. The widespread availability of WiMAX has for years been just around the corner but non-interoperable implementations and frequency spectrum licensing issues have hindered deployments. The situation for enterprises is different, however. The white paper notes that WiMAX is a convenient alternative to wired backhaul for remote or personal access points, and combined with Wi-Fi can help an enterprise cost-effectively accommodate diverse backhaul requirements and extend wireless LAN services to hard-to-wire locations. Ease-of-use is further enhanced when both WiMAX and Wi-Fi networks are managed from a common console using a multi-vendor wireless network management platform.

"Proponents of WiMAX make claims about in-process trials but there are few, if any, large-scale commercial networks," said Peter Thornycroft, author of the Aruba white paper. "As a technology WiMAX is ready for takeoff, but it is the non-technical obstacles that have conspired to keep it grounded. In this paper I discuss the misconceptions that have arisen over the capabilities and timelines of WiMAX technology, analyze the utility of using licensed versus unlicensed bands, and explain how WiMAX's cutting-edge wireless performance on licensed bands can be complemented with a Wi-Fi deployment on unlicensed bands to provide WWAN-to-WLAN broadband coverage."

Wi-Fi and WiMAX do not inhabit discrete segments of the market but instead overlap, and represent two of many competing ways to deliver broadband wireless services to fixed and mobile clients. While the two share common underlying technologies, each has strengths and weaknesses associated with transmit power, channel bandwidth, spectral bands, antenna gain, and management regimes. The white paper reviews the capabilities of each technology, notes where they are complementary, and makes a case for using them together to achieve a robust broadband solution.

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