With the recent announcement from the WiMAX Forum that some companies equipment has successfully passed the “first wave” of WiMAX certification for 802.16-2004, WiMAX is finally starting to get real. Aperto Networks’ PacketMAX 5000 base station, Redline Communications’ RedMAX AN-100U base station, SEQUANS Communications’ SQN base station solution and Wavesat’s miniMAX customer premise equipment (CPE) solution are all now certified as “first wave” approved. “This is a major milestone,” according to ABI Research’s senior analyst of wireless connectivity research, Philip Solis. “There is a long queue of companies waiting to undergo the same certification process. Then they can proceed to ‘wave 2,’ covering security and quality-of-service, and when they too are certified, we can expect to see larger numbers of products actually reaching the market.” At that stage, the market will begin to widen and there will be real interest from wireless ISPs in deploying certified WiMAX solutions rather than the proprietary systems that have been available for some time. In fact, several initial deployments of pre-WiMAX networks are under way across the globe, including a growing number from Latin America. The picture is complicated, however, by a resurgence of rival wireless broadband access technology 802.20, based on frequency-division duplex technology developed by Flarion. “With the closing of Qualcomm’s acquisition of Flarion, 802.20 may get a new lease on life,” notes Solis. “Qualcomm will almost certainly attempt to rally support from other industry participants, but many companies had abandoned 802.20 to support 802.16e.”