|Using a six-month
experimental license granted by the FCC, the OWRM is partnering with
Alvarion and Digital Bridge Communications to test WiMAX technology on
equipment at 3.5GHz, a frequency used outside of the United States.
Testing is being done at this higher frequency because there is
currently no equipment available for testing at 2.5 GHz, a frequency
that will be used to provide broadband services such as cell phones and
Internet in the United States in the coming months.
"The goal is to find out as much about this technology as possible, and
then begin sharing the information with others who are anxiously
awaiting for 2.5GHz WiMAX technology to arrive," said O'Neal Smitherman,
Ball State's vice president for information technology.
Researchers from OWRM are putting the WiMAX technology through a variety
of tests in order to find out more about connectivity, throughput,
capacity, signal strength and penetration inside the home under
variables such as weather, trees, elevation and distance.
Smitherman says several telecommunications companies have already
expressed interest in the test results because of valuable information
it will provide in the future development of broadband services to more
rural and underserved areas of the country.
"Through testing and deployment over the next 90 days, we will be able
to examine the performance of the WiMAX platform based on the IEEE
802.16 standard, as well as have an opportunity to fine tune our GIS
mapping capability using real data," said Smitherman. "This will give us
the data needed to accurately predict and map signal coverage anywhere."
Digital Bridge Communications, a provider of broadband wireless services
to rural and underserved communities, will assist the OWRM in the
testing and deployment of true WiMAX technology. Equipment being used
for testing comes from Alvarion, the world's largest manufacturer of
wireless broadband. Afterimage GIS, a company that specializes in RF
modeling, design and market analysis will also assist in the study.