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Alvarion Kicks Off WiMAX Do-It-Yourself Era

In a long-awaited move that is expected to bring WiMAX to consumers and small businesses, Alvarion Ltd. unveiled Tuesday inexpensive, self-installable indoor customer premises equipment (CPE) for the wide-area wireless solution.

"It's cheap and easy to install," said Carlton ONeal, Alvarion's vice president of marketing, in an interview Tuesday. "We think this is a breakthrough. It enables you to go mainstream with WiMAX."

The CPE, called the BreezeMAX Si, features simple plug and play installation and will lead to nomadic and portable services. ONeal said the CPE is the size of "a one-slice bagel toaster" and will be priced below $500 when pricing is firmed. He expects the Si CPE will be sold in retail outlets.

The BreezeMAX Si is a product within Alvarion's BreezeMAX 3500 family and has been designed to integrate easily with Alvarion's existing WiMAX deployments. While WiMAX deployments across the world have generally been established in rural and suburban regions, ONeal said the Si CPE is best suited for urban and in-building situations.

"WiMAX normally has a range of a couple of miles, but in buildings it will be less (because) it has to penetrate through walls," said ONeal. "The obvious customers will be those who have already deployed WiMAX." He noted that market research studies have stated that Alvarion's 150 worldwide WiMAX deployments represent some 80 percent of total WiMAX networks.

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