We sat down with Alpha Wireless CEO, Fergal Lawlor, to get some answers to questions about the proliferation of 4G technologies:
AZ: So how long till 4G goes mainstream?
FL: In the WiMAX space, it is close to going mainstream. The last 6 months have shown an acceleration in uptake in fixed WiMAX, and it will continue like this for the moment. In terms of mobility it is probably 2-3 years out, as handsets and new types of applications will be needed.
AZ: In terms of physical implementation, is there a difference between WiMAX and LTE in terms of complexity and price? If not, how do they differ?
FL: We are an antenna vendor, and from our point of view, there is little. The same or similar antennas can serve both markets.
AZ: Which technology do you favor? Why?
FL: Neither. Our antennas can serve both spaces as they use similar spectrum.
AZ: Will WiMAX or LTE dominate wireless systems in a 4G world?
FL: The 3G operators will mainly use LTE when it becomes available, so in the mobile space, it will probably predominate. However, for fixed broadband, WiMAX provides an excellent alternative to LTE, and it is already available.
AZ: What is Alpha Wireless? Who makes up your primary customer base? What do you offer them?
FL: We supply base station and CPE antennas. Our customers are the equipment vendors, the operators, and some of the network integrators.
AZ: How has Alpha Wireless adapted WiMAX and LTE technology to its product line?
FL: All our antennas are for this space. It is our focus and our specialty. This means our products can give higher performance at low cost, as this space is our sole focus.
AZ: How do you see the face of wireless technology changing in the coming years?
FL: Fixed line infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, will be replaced by wireless. From a mobility perspective, a new generation of apps will be needed to drive its acceptance – what these are, has yet to be decided.
AZ: I understand that Alpha Wireless released the world’s first eRET WiMAX antenna in June. Can you tell us a little about that?
FL: Yes, it’s an antenna whose tilt can be remotely changed, meaning that a network’s performance can be ‘tweaked’ from the comfort of the office – no climbing of masts. Currently, adjusting a networks performance can be expensive as it means sending out a team to manually change the tilt of the antenna on the mast.
Alpha Wireless was founded in 2007 and designs 4G antennas for major equipment vendors and operators.