Sunday, September 23, 2007

WiMax and Satellite unwire Vietnam

A combination of WiMax and satellite will beam wireless broadband to one of the most remote corners of Vietnam, reports EE Times.

Working with the state-owned Vietnam Data Communication Company and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Intel said it had delivered Internet access to Ta Van, a village in mountainous northern Vietnam near the border with China. It receives a spot beam from the IPSTAR satellite and distributes it throughout the village via an omni-directional antenna using a 3.3GHz WiMax base station from Airspan Networks.

The pilot project has blanketed Ta Van which has what could be “the worst communications infrastructure in the country”. The 2Mbps downlink and a 512Kps uplink Internet access, should pave the way for voice-over-Internet protocol and other data services.

The IPSTAR satellite, operated by Thailand’s Shin Satellite, is the world’s largest broadband satellite.

It currently has a footprint covering 14 Asia-Pacific countries, including Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Australia and New Zealand.

Users in Ta Van are now enjoying Internet services free, but its backers believe the WiMax/satellite technique is commercially feasible even for relatively cash-strapped regions. According to Intel’s, calculations, the service could be offered for about $25 per end user connection per month, and could also bring in revenues by allowing communities to set up businesses, such as Internet cafes for tourists.

Another WiMAX deployment in Vietnam was set up in Lao Cai, located in a mountainous area of northern Vietnam, abutting the Chinese border. An Alvarion BreezeMAX base station and some 20 WiMAX fixed-access client devices were scattered around the city. The BreezeMAX antenna was installed 70 meters above the ground on a local tower, with the base station connected to a fiber-optic backhaul service.

The second-phase WiMAX rollout will link the WiMAX base station to an IPStar satellite. The second phase is expected to be completed in October. The new IPSTAR maXX allows IPSTAR to be efficiently deployed in multiple-user broadband environments such as for Community Internet Centers, Multi-dwelling Units (MDU), Internet Cafes, university campuses and corporate offices.

The hope is that traditional industries such as agriculture and forestry can use the new telecoms infrastructure to grow their business and perhaps attract more cross-border trade with China. Another hope is to attract foreign investment to the region.

Related DailyWireless stories on Space and Satellites include; Inmarsat F2 Launched, IPSTAR Spotbeam Sat Launched, Intelsat & Panamsat to Merge, Global Satellite Providers Now Three, NGO Emergency Response, Hurricane/Tsuanmi Satellite Access, Ring of Fire Earthquake, and iPSTAR-1 & The Global HotSpot.