A couple of months ago we left pending the market study on Wimax market. The next phase of the study is the analysis of the different scenarios in what you usually make use this kind of equipment. We are going to see the features required by each of them and determine the equipment that in my opinion meets their needs the best.
In my opinion theere are the three scenarios where Wimax technology fits perfect: WISP, corporate networks and backbone for telecom providers.
In this category we will consider private networks performed by both point to point and point to multipoint links. We aren't going to distinguish between public and private networks becasue most of their needs are common. In this scenario we can define three fundamental elements to take a decission in which is our perfect device: capacity, security and availability of links.
Because of the importance of these three elements I consider the RADWIN 2000, Alvarion BreezeUltra, Proxim QuickBridge and Cambium PTP as the best candidates for this scenario. All of them offer the features required for these scenarios, so choosing one or the other will depend largely on the rest of the project requirements (links symmetry, QoS, L3 capabilities, ...) that we will not look so in detail. What we can do is highlight those distinguishing features of such equipment to facilitate the choice of one or the other depending on the scenario.
Talking about PmP solutions there are more elements that can define the decision to take. If what is required is a solution with much capacity to share in a controlled number of dependencies, Radwin 5000 HPMP solution is the best choice. Otherwise the solutions of Cambium PMP430 , BreezeACCESS VL Alvarion or Proxim MP8100 also cover the needs of these projects. Besides the imminent appearance on the market of Cambium Networks PMP450 can make a good alternative to consider in this type of scenario. As we have done with the Point to Point solutions we will analyze the main strengths of each platform:
Such projects can distinguish solutions depending on several parameters, but they all share a common factor, the cost of CPEs should be tight enough so that the ROI of the project is adequate. Once analyzed technical equipment available and making this first economical filter I think the devices that would adapt best to this scenario are: Cambium Networks PMP430 (450 is actually available) and Airmax Ubiquity. At this point it would be necessary to examine other factors that will lead us to make a decision:
It seems that the market puts the solution Cambium PMP430 one step ahead technologically talking from Ubiquity, which is already one step ahead at cost. To get an idea of prices that could manage to implement a WISP project with 3 base stations and 200 CPEs is € 12,000 with a Ubiquity solution and € 28,000 for Cambium one.
The last scenario analyzed in this study is backbone solutions for operators. This scenario requires point to point links to interconnect several distribution nodes that transmit signals from operators BTS .
In this environment the main features required by our equipments are: ability to work in saturated spectrum environments spectrum, availability and possibility of TDM transmission. The latter condition severely limits the number of devices to watch at, as it is not usual to have equipment that directly provide an interface for interconnection of TDM traffic. In this case Radwin 2000 and Cambium PTP600 are perfect. They offer TDM interfaces, provide an adequate capacity for normal requirements and the possibility of being synchronized via GPS.
I hope that after all this writing (if someone has got here is that he is really interested in the subject) any of you can understand why exist these differences in price between the different equipments and why is difficult for engineers to answer that question about a vendor costing twice the one that the customers has seen in Media Markt.
I think or at least I hope that the goal of this post has been reached, I want to demonstrate that Wimax network design must never be based on the information provided in the datasheet of the vendor or what your your neighbor has told you. Instead of that you should talk to radio professionals who can treat this kind of projects as they need.