Cisco Becomes Clearwires Core Infrastructure Provider

Though the writing was on the wall, Clearwire Corp. has officially selected Cisco Systems Inc. as its core infrastructure provider. In addition to locking in the IP NGN for Clearwire’s nationwide WiMAX build, Cisco also will create WiMAX/Wi-Fi devices for Clearwire to target the consumer, SOHO and SMB markets.

And that’s not all: Clearwire also will go to market via Cisco’s extensive distribution channels.

On the network side, Cisco will be Clearwire’s primary IP network solution provider, providing an IP NGN architecture that includes Cisco 7600 Series Internet routers, Cisco ONS 15454 and Cisco ONS 15310 platforms, Cisco ASA Firewalls, and the Cisco Service and Application Module for IP (SAMI) Home Agent.

The future Cisco converged WiMAX- and Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be based on Cisco’s Linksys line of consumer routers.

“Clearwire’s ecosystem of partners, coupled with our all-IP next-generation network, will deliver a true mobile broadband experience,” said Ned Hooper, senior vice president, corporate development and consumer at Cisco, in a statement. “In addition, incorporating WiMAX into our products will help enable people to move freely throughout the United States, while maintaining continuous connectivity to personalized applications and services.”

Cisco, which has been Clearwire’s partner for the developer sandbox known as the WiMAX Innovation Network in Silicon Valley, has been a WiMAX player since its acquisition of Navini Networks in 2007. The Clearwire deal for devices will complement Cisco’s position in the Wi-Fi market while the infrastructure build will advance it in the telecom market. And meanwhile, Clearwire gains a broader ability to bring broadband to its subscribers, both on-net and off.

Clearwire provides the “CLEAR”-branded mobile WiMAX service in Baltimore, Md., and in Portland, Ore., with the Atlanta market built out and ready to go. The provider plans to be in more than 80 markets across the United States by the end of 2010.

The relationship with Clearwire is Cisco’s first big WiMAX deal in the United States. It also supplies infrastructure to Russian wireless ISP Scartel, Georgian mobile operator MagtiCom and AsiaBell’s mobile WiMAX service in central Kazakhstan.

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