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Building a Wireless CLEC

Since the FCC classified DSL and cable as information services this summer, Bells and cablecos are not officially required to make circuits available to competitors at reasonable cost. But fiber is expensive, and many promising emerging technologies are untested: Enter the wireless service provider.


Todays three-session track on wireless broadband, sponsored by Shorecliff Communications LLC, aims to give CLECs and ISPs an in-depth look at the minutia of deploying a wireless broadband access network.


Kicking it off, Voice over IP on the Wireless Network will refine the theme of becoming ILEC-independent, with a discussion on adding voice to the data network, especially over Wi-Fi and WiMAX installations.


Moderator Daniel Berninger, vice president and senior analyst, Tier1 Research, will lead the conversation with a fixed wireless service provider and an equipment vendor.


WiMAX is gaining momentum with more than 300 large companies behind it, mobile handset makers are embedding Wi-Fi, and VoIP is becoming mainstream. For all those reasons, this discussion is timely particularly for CLECs. Two technologies VoIP and WiMAX can be the first challenge to the existing mobile providers and traditional phone companies by offering a powerful combined set of features, says Jeff Thompson, COO at TowerStream Corp., a provider of broadband wireless that recently signed a deal with Vonage Holdings Corp. to combine VoIP and Wi-Fi.


Ron Sege, president and CEO of Tropos Networks Inc., a network vendor specializing in large-scale Wi-Fi deployments, will take a look at the requirements for effective wireless VoIP, particularly in mesh network architectures.


Voice over such outdoor/municipal WLAN indeed could challenge the mobile operators, but for the competitor, maintaining throughput, QoS and priority labeling must be addressed as packets hop from node to node.


A second panel, Expanding the Reach and Product Offering of CLECs, will look at the case for wireless broadband in general. We will cover a lot of different technologies, from Wi-Fi to WiMAX to proprietary, says moderator Timothy Sanders, president of The Final Mile, a consulting firm that specializes in helping service providers with the realities of wireless deployment in the field. Wireless is the best way to be your own facilities-based carrier cost-effectively.


The panel will provide a range of technical viewpoints. These guys are backed up against a wall, says panelist Robert Beran, senior vice president of First Avenue Networks, which offers licensed spectrum in the 24GHz and 39GHz ranges for service providers needing redundancy, wireless backhaul or PoP-to-individual access. But it will work out well for them in the long-run because theyll be more flexible in what they can offer. Our UNE-P replacement service looks like a metro microwave technology, a wireless Ethernet offering, essentially. This will be attractive to service providers as the availability of Ethernet radios with more capacity become available at lower prices.


John Krzywicki, vice president of marketing at GigaBeam, says he feels strongly that CLECs can use wireless to extend their portfolio far beyond what the ILEC can offer. With wireless, they can attack the higher-end SMBs, and the enterprise space, he notes. With wireless fiber products like ours, which provide high-speed access within one mile of a fiber ring or PoP, they can go longer-range at a lower bit-rate, making T1 replacement simple. They can also go where copper and fiber cant waterworks, for instance, or subway tunnels.


Carlos Olivardia, director of business development at Progress Telecom, will round out the group and provide some thoughts on the realities of going wireless.


A final session, WiMAX In-Depth How Competitive Providers Can Take Advantage of this Emerging Wireless Standard will examine the outlook for BWA deployments based on the 802.16 standard. With certified equipment expected soon, the market has waited with bated breath to see how WiMAX a sort of metro-scale Wi-Fi will be deployed, and by whom. This discussion will weigh licensed versus unlicensed spectrum approaches, operating costs and/or partnerships for deployment, CPE deployment, management, cost structures and feature functionality concerns.


Mohammad Shakouri, associate vice president of business development at Alvarion and vice president of marketing for the WiMAX Forum, will moderate. Panelist Russ Shipley, president of wholesale at Mpower Communications, will bring a CLEC perspective on the advantages and challenges of broadband fixed wireless, having deployed such a network. Completing the panel will be Dick Lee, vice president and general manager for the North American market at Airspan Networks, maker of a WiMAX base station.



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