Clearwire announced that Cisco Systems will provide the core infrastructure for Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network. The two companies also will jointly develop converged WiMAX- and Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices targeted at consumer, small office or home office (SOHO) and small- and medium-sized business (SMB) markets.
The mobile WiMAX devices are expected to come out by the end of the year.
Clearwire refused to release any details about what kind of devices it would be releasing, only saying the devices would be targeted at both the enterprise and consumer segments and that it saw itself as a mobile broadband provider, not a carrier. Clearwire already has some devices on the market, including a personal hot spot.
The company also declined to provide any detail about when the 4G network’s Internet protocol core would be deployed, only saying the buildout would be a multi-year effort.
The deal with Clearwire is Cisco’s first major foray into WiMAX, although the company has had WiMAX technology on hand for some time. Cisco also recently announced that it is supplying mobile WiMAX infrastructure to European carriers in Russia, Georgia and Kazakhstan.
Clearwire selected the Cisco 7600 Series Internet routers, Cisco ONS 15454 and Cisco ONS 15310 platforms, Cisco ASA Firewalls and the Cisco Service and Application Module for IP (SAMI) Home Agent. Clearwire is currently in the process of testing and certifying the Cisco equipment.
Cisco is the first infrastructure vendor chosen by Clearwire and it is expected that the company soon will announce other partnerships. Clearwire stated the open network model it chose would allow a multitude of different equipment vendors, and that network components were likely to come from different manufacturers.
Clearwire currently has relationships with Samsung and Motorola for base stations. Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) had been a contender for the core IP network secured by Cisco. Though it is now out of the running for that deal, Clearwire didn’t rule NSN out for future contracts.