WiGRID PlugFest Event a Success!

Global WiMAX Leaders Showcase Interoperable Products at Inaugural WiGRID™ PlugFest Event hosted by the WiMAX Forum®

Global WiMAX leaders convened this month for the first WiGRID™ PlugFest Event hosted by the WiMAX Forum® in Vancouver, BC. The WiGRID PlugFest was held at the Powertech Labs Inc. facility and was scheduled to coincide with UTC Canada 2012 in order to bring a mix of global utility company experts and equipment vendors to engage in hands-on testing interoperability of equipment.

WiGRID is a new IEEE 802.16 system profile being developed by the WiMAX Forum against the requirements of the Utility companies. WiGRID contains important new features that optimize IEEE 802.16 standard's based WiMAX equipment for a range of Field Area Networking applications and use cases.

The WiGRID PlugFest Event illustrated the tremendous potential and highlighted the interest in delivering broadband wireless services to the utility industry using WiMAX technology. This event marks the WiMAX Forum's first phase of interoperability testing for WiGRID technology and showcases the capabilities of WiMAX Field Area Networking and Smart Grid equipment.
Participating companies included: Airspan Networks, Cisco Systems, Electric Power Research Institute, GE Digital Energy, PureWave Networks and Rohde & Schwarz.

Each WiMAX equipment supplier conducted a series of stringent and extensive test procedures, consisting of protocol conformance and interoperability testing. Participants tested the equipment in the 1.8 - 2.3 and 3.65 Gigahertz (GHz) frequency spectrums, which allowed vendors to conduct testing at higher layers demonstrating streaming applications. The throughput scheme range was at 5, 7 and 10 Megahertz (MHZ).

"The WiGRID profile is important for the Utility industry as they build out robust, private and cyber-secure wireless Field Area Networks as part of their grid modernization programs", said Eric Stonestrom, CEO and President of Airspan Networks. "WiGRID represents a focused next step for the established 4G WiMAX standard and ecosystem, which is strongly placed to support ethernet friendly but highly secure wireless communications networks for the next 10 years. Cyber security is paramount for utility providers and this approach provides substantial advantage over alternative solutions like public cellular communications or spead spectrum narrowband connection based architectures".

Paul Senior, CTO of Airspan Networks and Vice Chair of the WiMAX Forum Smart Grid Working Group said, "It was a great event and we achieved important milestones. This first WiGRID IEEE 802.16 PlugFest established the baseline for interoperability and a foundation for certification. The new uplink centric feature set and end-to-end security over ethernet ensure there is real Utility industry support for the optimized WiGRID profile".

Marty Collins, Technical Marketing at Cisco Connected Energy Networks Business Unit said "Having access to the different vendors in the WiMAX Forum WiGRID PlugFest in a casual and relaxed environment allowed for true teamwork when working through issues to ensure interoperability. I want to thank the WiMAX Forum, PowerTech Labs and BC Hydro for organizing and hosting the event and the other vendors for the teamwork demonstrated this week."

"This PlugFest was a great success and it is a clear sign that the WiMAX standard can be tailored to meet the demanding security and performance requirements of Industrial customers as they seek to build out mission critical applications like those in Electric Utilities," said Tom Mueller, General Manager of Industrial Communications at GE's Digital Energy business.

"Powertech Labs was delighted to host the inaugural WiGRID PlugFest. Here at Powertech we believe that interoperability is the cornerstone of our efforts in advancing the grid and their efforts here coincided with our initiation of advanced technology demonstration projects in our new Smart Utility Lab," stated Raymond Lings, Managing Director at Powertech Labs Inc.

"Extensive interoperability between vendors and a vibrant ecosystem make WiMAX an ideal solution for private networks in general and for Smart Grid applications in particular. The WiGRID Plugfest successfully demonstrated both the robustness and the ease of use offered by the WiMAX standard and we are pleased to have taken part in it," said Ronen Vengosh, VP Marketing and Business Development at PureWave Networks. "PureWave congratulates the WiMAX Forum on a job well done and is looking forward to sending our rugged base stations to participate in future events of this type."

"Rohde and Schwarz understands there is a strong initiative in the utilities industry to take advantage of the smart grid technology and we want to help make this technology a success by providing turn key test solutions for this market. The WiGRID Plug Fest was a great event for us to learn where the utilities industry is headed and to show the type of 4G test solutions Rohde and Schwarz has to offer for these non traditional mobile devices," stated Anthony Opferman, Business Development Manager, Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz.

"The demonstrated interoperability between the WiMAX equipment vendors supported by the test and power system vendors made this WiGRID event a tremendous success. This first, and subsequent PlugFests will create a wireless ecosystem that can support SmartGrid applications," stated Eugene Crozier, 1800 WG, UTC Canada and Chair of the WiMAX Forum's Smart Grid Working Group.

The WiGRID PlugFest Event was specifically designed to provide an opportunity for WiMAX equipment manufacturers serving the utility space to test the interoperability of their products against use case scenarios specifically drafted by the Utility Industry. It allowed multiple WiMAX equipment suppliers to conduct an extensive series of interoperability tests in multiple frequency bands, allowing vendors to conduct testing at higher layers demonstrating interoperability across a number of different applications and showcase their capabilities to the Utility Ecosystem.

The WiMAX Forum's mission is to facilitate the adoption of WiMAX technology across the world and ensure that industry products are interoperable. The WiMAX Forum continues to make significant progress in delivering products that help network operators build out WiMAX networks. The WiGRID PlugFest signals the endorsement of manufacturers to make cost-effective, standardized and interoperable WiMAX equipment in support of Utilities.

For more information on WiMAX technology please contact Mike Wolleben at Mike.Wolleben@wimaxforum.org. You may reach Mike by phone at +1 (512) 470-9045.

About the WiMAX Forum®

The WiMAX Forum® is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization that certifies and promotes the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based upon IEEE Standard 802.16. The WiMAX Forum's primary goal is to accelerate the adoption, deployment and expansion of WiMAX technologies across the globe while facilitating roaming agreements, sharing best practices within our membership and certifying products. WiMAX Forum Certified® products are interoperable and support broadband fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile services. The WiMAX Forum works closely with service providers and regulators to ensure that WiMAX Forum Certified systems meet customer and government requirements. For more information, visit www.wimaxforum.org.

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