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Telabria's Canterbury WiMAX Trials
By: MarkJ - 21 May, 2005 (9:06 AM)

Telabria has partnered with the University of Kent in order to trial broadband wireless WiMAX technology over the Canterbury area. It's hoped that the WiMAX pilot will deliver business-class wireless broadband services to the entire city:

As a result of the newly forged relationship - the first of its kind in the UK - Telabria and UOK will research and develop best practices for designing and building next-generation wireless networks based on the emerging IEEE 802.16d standard, more commonly known as WiMAX. Broadband subscribers using wireline DSL services are limited by technical restrictions of copper cable to speeds of up to just 2Mbps over distances that are determined by the way the copper cable is laid between the subscriber and the local telephone exchange. In the case of business-oriented SDSL (symmetric DSL), this is less than one mile from the exchange in the best of circumstances. The majority of new build business and residential developments are at the edges of communities furthest from the local telephone exchange, and as a result worst positioned for wireline broadband. By using radio signals WiMAX overcomes these limitations, providing speeds to up to 45Mbps in both directions (known as 'symmetric' service) at point-to-point distances up to 15 miles.

Commencing in early June, Telabria will run a 90-day pilot of WiMAX-based wireless broadband services to small/home offices (SOHO) and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canterbury; base stations will be located at a number of sites including University campus rooftops. "UOK is ideally situated for the provision of Telabria's WiMAX services," continued Baker. "The 300-acre campus is just one mile from the city centre, and positioned on a hill that overlooks a large proportion of the city's 120 square mile area, with excellent reach to Canterbury's 5,000-odd small to medium sized businesses." The key objectives of the pilot are to test radio propagation in licensed and licence-exempt frequency bands, antenna configurations, network capacity and routing protocols, and quality of service (QoS) methods for delivering data, voice and video over WiMAX connections at speeds far in excess of those possible with ADSL or SDSL broadband services.

Other objectives of the collaboration include the deployment of a Wi-Fi mesh network or 'hotzone' in the city centre for public Internet access, and building-to-building connectivity to provide off-campus student accommodation in the city with University network access. Telabria expects to convert the pilot to a commercial WiMAX service at the end of the trials as part of an initiative to deploy wireless broadband services throughout Kent, a county with a population of over 1.5m people and 600,000 businesses over an area of approximately 1,500 square miles.


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