WorldCom Plans N-LOS MMDS Trial
MMDS, in the 2.500-2.685 Ghz band, provides a wireless alternative to DSL and cable modems. MMDS, at 2.5 GHz, has more bandwith (185 Ghz) than the unlicensed 802.11b band (85 Ghz) but less than the unlicensed 5 Ghz, 802.11a band, (200-300 Ghz bandwidth). WorldCom and Sprint Broadband both own about $1 Billion dollars worth of licensed MMDS service but put the service on ice last year, waiting for Non Line of Sight technology.
The time may be here. According to Broadband Week, WorldCom plans to roll out the next-generation service late this year or early next year.
The licensed Multi-channel Multipoint Delivery System (MMDS) can reach 35-miles from a single tower “super cell.” Sprint Wireless (FAQ), owns about 90 US licenses and subsidizes consumer gear in their $40/month MMDS service. Sprint wanted a cheaper, non-LOS device to serve millions. AT&T’s Fixed Wireless sold out leaving Worldcom Broadband Wireless as the dominant business player.
One potential N-LOS equipment provider for Sprint might be NextNet Wireless (FAQ). “We have had great success with our initial field testing — transmitting and receiving in densely populated areas without line-of-sight, or the need for rooftop antennas”, says their CEO. They split a 54 Mbps cell into 9 Mbps sectors then feeds subscribers a time slot on their OFDM carrier. They claim “absolutely no line-of-sight restrictions and a typical capital cost of less than $100 per subscriber”.
The family of 802.16 Metropolitan Wireless LAN standards is optimized for the “last mile” and could provide Sprint with voice. With MMDS to the home and 802.11(e) QOS around the home, Worldcom and Sprint might deliver local and long distance as well as high-speed data – without a land line.
Nokia’s 5 Ghz Mesh Proposal can relay through neighboring nodes. Voicestream uses Nokia cellular switching gear and owns Starbuck’s Wayport system. Nokia’s mesh could be Voicestream’s brew for hot spot delivery.