Wi-LAN Launches Mobilis

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Tom Keating
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Wi-LAN Launches Mobilis

Mobilis, apparently has a new mobile wireless solution for commuter trains using WiMAX. I've always read that WiMAX has problems with any sort of high velocity or movement. Though since velocity (or speed) is all relative (read Albert Einstein's theory of relativity), I suppose if the transmitters are installed on the train, then even though you are travelling at high-speed, the WiMAX transmission signals will be travelling "relative" to the passengers speed.

Of course, then the question becomes, how do they get high-speed wireless signals from off the train? After all, if you are surfing www.msnbc.com, you need to hop off the train's LAN and reach the Internet. I'm not sure if they are using satellite, WiMAX, or some other wireless technology to do that.

Maybe they did solve the "mobility" issue with the WiMAX specification? Hard to say from this press release below. I do know a competing wireless technology from Flarion works when in high-speed motion. (I blogged it here: Flarion vs. WiMAX)

It does seem to indicate it can handle "high speed handoffs" which seems to me they have indeed solved the mobility issue with WiMAX. If so, BRAVO!

The specifications definitely seem very interesting in the news release.

As the train races down the tracks, Mobilis can stream a broadband connection (32 Mbps) to and from the individual cars. Applications include streaming video security cameras located in each car, hot spot access for commuters, telematics, interactive information and advertising to the riders that enables them to purchase tickets, gifts, etc.


Product Addresses the Security and Communication Needs of Public Transit and Vehicular Public Safety Systems

CALGARY, Canada - Wi-LAN Inc. (TSX:WIN), the global provider of market-leading broadband wireless communications products and technologies and the original charter member of the WiMAX Forum(1), today launched Mobilis, the first commercially available two-way broadband wireless product designed for a high-speed mobile environment, at the ITS World Congress 2004 in Nagoya, Japan.

Wi-LAN is initially targeting Mobilis at the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) market. ITS wireless applications include real-time video surveillance, streaming advertising, and hotspot Internet access for passengers.

"We have seen very positive results with Mobilis in field trials with key transportation customers in Korea," said Dr. Hyun Chul Nam, Chief Executive Officer of Wellink, a leading integrator of high-speed telecommunications systems. "As a Wi-LAN business and development partner, we are very excited about the new business opportunities Mobilis represents and we expect to be in the position to announce customer deployments of Mobilis in the near future."

Available in mid-November 2004, Mobilis is the first product of its kind to deliver on the mobile broadband wireless promise of IEEE Standard 802.16e(1), the standard that the WiMAX Forum expects to certify in 2006. Using its patented and market-leading W-OFDM technology, Wi-LAN has been testing and demonstrating broadband wireless in a high-speed mobile environment for several years; with Mobilis, Wi-LAN is the first vendor to bring this technology to market.

"Mobilis is an extremely significant breakthrough for Wi-LAN and the broadband wireless industry in general. It is the first product to address the real world need for onboard video security on transit vehicles with the capability to also offer value-added passenger services such as mobile hotspots" said Dr. Sayed-Amr (Sisso) El-Hamamsy, President and CEO, Wi-LAN Inc. "We are the only vendor to release a commercial product with the demonstrated ability to deliver such high data throughput with seamless handoff for use in a high-speed environment.”

Mobilis delivers broadband wireless access at speeds that can exceed 110 km/hour. Mobilis features Sequential Soft Fast Handoff, which translates to uninterrupted service for mobile mission-critical security applications, and seamless access for transit passengers who wish to catch up on email or browse online news during their commute.

Mobilis offers compelling competitive advantages over other technologies:

1 Compared to traditional Fixed Wireless Access, Mobilis operates in high-speed mobile environments, applying a robust handoff scheme to ensure no communication interruption.
2 In contrast to 3G, Mobilis delivers data throughput of more than 100 times faster (32 mbps vs. 284 kbps).
3 Mobilis is superior to WLAN technology solutions because it is designed for the outdoors, reaches longer distances, operates in a high-speed mobile environment, and provides robust handoff to ensure constant communication.
4 Compared to satellite solutions, Mobilis offers better performance at a lower cost and can operate in underground subways and tunnels.

Mobilis delivers a dynamic link with bandwidth of up to 32 Mbps, making it ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications such as streaming video and internet browsing, while delivering low latency, making it suitable for a VoIP solution. As well, Mobilis’ relatively small antenna makes it a more practical and attractive solution for transit vehicles than larger satellite dishes.

“Wi-LAN’s Mobilis addresses the convergence of mobile data acquisitions and centralized incident reporting requirements. Connected Mobility will be the cornerstone of future applications ranging from intelligent highway and toll collections to emergency response,” said Rich Thoma, technology and transportation analyst and principal of Thoma Consulting. “I expect the Mobilis product will become a future platform for critical communication systems required by Public Safety, Homeland Security and ITS."

About Wi-LAN Inc.

Wi-LAN is a global provider of broadband wireless communications products and technologies, offering businesses, including telecom service providers, and government enterprises effective, economic and secure wireless high-speed communications solutions. Wi-LAN specializes in high-speed Internet access, data network extension, and wireless data and telephony backhaul, utilizing its high quality products and industry-leading technologies.

Wi-LAN believes its portfolio of patents, including its core W-OFDM patents and 17 patents and patent applications acquired from Ensemble Communications in May 2004, are necessary for the implementation of devices using the IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN Standard (1) and the ETSI BRAN HiperMAN(1) standard (the WiMAX Forum(1) standards). As well, Wi-LAN’s W-OFDM patents are believed to be required for the implementation of devices using the IEEE standards 802.11a and 802.11g (the 2nd generation Wi-Fi Alliance(1) standards), and the ETSI BRAN HiperLAN/2(1) standard. Wi-LAN licenses its patented technology and has executed non-exclusive W-OFDM license agreements with semiconductor and broadband wireless equipment companies.

Wi-LAN is the chair company of the OFDM Forum (www.ofdm-forum.com) and a charter member of the WiMAX Forum (www.wimaxforum.org). Wi-LAN's common shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WIN." Detailed information on Wi-LAN can be found at www.wi-lan.com.

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