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Intel has developed a WiMax baseband card designed for the carrier market that’s intended to give equipment manufacturers a platform for the creation of WiMax base stations.

The new baseband card allows companies to make base station equipment for both the industrial and residential markets.

It meets standards including the AdvancedMC hardware specification and the OBSAI (Open Basestation Architecture Initiative) architecture standard.

“We’re bringing about the ability of the WiMax market to grow faster than it would otherwise,” Keate Despain told eWEEK. He is the director of marketing for the Modular Communications Platform Division of Intel.

“We’re introducing a baseband card that supports the WiMax protocols that will interface directly to clients using the 802.16-2004 standard,” Despain said.

Despain also noted that Intel has planned for the card to meet future standards as well. “Because it’s a software defined radio, it will be upgradable to the 2005 mobile standard once it gets into the marketplace,” he said. “We support the fixed standard now.”

Click here to read more about the Mobile WiMax standard.

“It’s an advanced mezzanine card,” Despain said, describing the card’s physical characteristics. “It’s designed to be supported on a carrier card for the ATCA [Advanced Telecommunications Architecture] standard,” he said.

“You can also slide it into a micro TCA environment, which is ideally suited for base stations due to the smaller form factor, lower cost and ready availability for today’s base stations,” he added.

“It’s called the Intel NetStructure WiMax Baseband card,” Despain said, adding that it’s the first card on the market that’s built on open standards and also complies with the OBSAI standard.

Despain said that he thinks the new card will enter the commercial marketplace in the second half of 2007.

“It takes that long to drive through the validation process for our service providers,” he said.

Because the new WiMax card is a software defined radio, it needs to come with the software necessary to make it useful to customers, and Despain said that this product does just that.

“It comes with the software elements to do the MAC and the physical layer functionality. The software also does the control, scheduling, and offers up the APIs to the customers applications that will round out and complete the entire base station,” he said.

The new card will be available in December, and will sell for $3,500.

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