Following their recent contract win for development of the WiMAX Forum's 802.16e protocol conformance test solution, Aeroflex and Cetecom Spain have now outlined the roadmap for the product's planned development and introduction. Initial discussions with prospective technology partners are underway, all of whom will benefit from early access to the technology.

"Early customer involvement with the protocol conformance test solution is vital to its successful development and introduction within the timescales mandated by the WiMAX Forum," said Pete Nicholson, business unit manager for Aeroflex Test Solutions, Wireless Division. "Although initial discussions are already underway with several prospective technology partners, the opportunity to participate is still open to the broad spectrum of chipset developers, hardware manufacturers and test laboratories planning to focus on the WiMAX opportunity."

Intended to cut WiMAX device development costs through a defined certification process covering various levels of conformance complexity, the Aeroflex/Cetecom WiMAX 802.16e protocol conformance test solution (MINT 2230 series) will provide development, pre- and full-conformance testing of both subscriber and base station equipment. For chipset manufacturers, this will include protocol stack development and for hardware manufacturers it will include integration and interoperability testing, enabling PHY and MAC layer conformance to be tested and validated prior to submission to a designated certification laboratory. For certification laboratories, it will provide a complete validation platform that supports ETSI developed TTCN3 test cases.

The roadmap calls for the introduction of the protocol conformance test solution in multiple phases that progressively increases the functionality available to provide both a Base Station Emulator (BSE - MINT 2230) for subscriber equipment testing and a Subscriber Station Emulator (SSE - MINT 2231) for base station equipment testing. Each product provides a Development Test Mode with air interface monitor and emulation (AIME) and test cases, Conformance Test Mode with air interface monitor and emulation/conformance tester (AIME/CT) and validated test cases and supports Multiple Interface Modes including Ethernet over cable, RF over cable and RF over air. To coincide with the WiMAX Forum's PlugFest16e in June 2006 in Malaga, Spain, Aeroflex/Cetecom plan to introduce a pre-prototype development system that will enable initial protocol stack, digital signal processor and hardware testing. Validation of the BSE protocol conformance test system will begin shortly thereafter with delivery of the BSE AIME product, followed by the BSE AIME/CT product, in Q4 CY2006. Validation of the SSE protocol conformance test system will commence at the end of 2006 with delivery of the SSE AIME and SSE AIME/CT products beginning in Q2 of 2007. "WiMAX is an important new technology development and to ensure its successful uptake it is essential that all developers have access to the right test tools when they need them," said Andres Moreno, Cetecom Wireless Division Director. "By phasing the introduction of the MINT 2230 protocol conformance test solution and outlining the associated product introduction roadmap, developers will be able to plan accordingly. Those developers who want an early insight into the tools have the opportunity to apply to become one of our technology partners."