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Wayne FredinComprehensive WiMAX

Wayne Fredin, Vice President, Sales Vecima Networks Inc talks to Intercomms about how the company is orienting itself to the demands of WiMAX

Wayne Fredin graduated from Royal Roads Military College in 1980 with a BSc and newly commissioned in the Canadian Forces. As a Signals officer he served in various command and staff positions in Canada and Europe and completed a number of career technical and professional courses. In 1989, as a Major, he resigned his commission while working as a Project Manager in Ottawa. Since 1999, Wayne has been active in the Communication Reserves and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel commanding 74 Communication Group based in Victoria on a part time basis.

After leaving the military Wayne joined SHL Systemhouse with sales and business development responsibilities. He was self employed for a number of years where he honed his direct sales and sales training skills. He spent 10 years he has been working in the energy industry in Alberta with sales and project management responsibilities to deliver complex hardware, software and communications based production optimization solutions. Wayne has been the VP Sales at Vecima Networks since January 2007.

Q: What's the history of Vecima's involvement in WiMAX?
A: Vecima has been working on WiMAX for almost 5 years now. We are Principal members of the WiMAX Forum and have participated comprehensively in the Forum from the very beginning. With our core competency in RF Engineering it was natural for us to strategically position ourselves in this exciting emerging technology. We chose to not get the 802.16- 2004 Wave 1 certification as it had no real technical performance merit but rather have focused on achieving interoperability at Plugfests and meeting the more robust Wave 2 certification. We are currently going through the Wave 2 certification process and expect to have that complete very soon and we are continuing to develop and expand the feature set and product line for our Fixed solution.

Q: How is Vecima orienting itself to the delivery of WiMAX?
A: Vecima is currently offering a complete 802.16-2004 Fixed WiMAX solution including the Base Station, CPEs and NMS. We currently offer WiMAX in the 3.3 to 3.8 GHz range and the 1.7 to 2.1 GHz range and we will soon be launching a 4.9 to 5.8 GHz solution with a 10 MHz channel and a 3.65 GHz solution for the US market. Our licensed products feature 3.5 and 7 MHz channel sizes and can be deployed with up to 8 sectors per base station. We also provide comprehensive pre and post sales engineering support including RF Planning and Capacity services, training, installation and ongoing support. To make it simpler for our customers we have introduced a number of WiMAX Starter Kits that allow customers to complete lab or field trial system evaluations before having to make substantial capital purchase decisions.

Q: How do the WiMAX Starter Kits work?
A: The WiMAX Starter Kits offer new customers the opportunity to conduct funded field or lab pilots or trials without significant capital investment. Many of our customers struggle trying to decide what to start with, how many subs, how many sectors, etc and so we created the Starter Kits to make this decision simpler and quicker. The different Starter Kits cater to various sector numbers, antenna types, CPE types and the like. Each Starter Kit includes an NMS and provides Engineering, Training and Support to ensure our customers' initial experience with Vecima is successful and positive. As part of this service, our Application Engineering Group will set up and configure the system prior to shipping according to how the customer plans to deploy it so it really is a "WiMAX in a Box" plug and play deployment. We will continue to grow our Starter Kit selections as our product offerings expand.

Q: Within your Broadband Wireless group you have unique but complementary solutions including unlicensed 900 MHZ through your WaveRider acquisition, BWIN based on DOCSIS (Broadband Wireless Internet Network) and Software Defined Radio solutions though your acquisition of Spectrum Signal Processing and WiMAX. How do you integrate that capability to tailor your offerings to specific user needs?
A: Our Wireless business is strong and growing. Our complete product line gives us the flexibility to offer customers a number of solutions depending on their specific challenges. Many of our direct competitors are really only focused on WiMAX and work very hard to convince customers that is the best solution to purchase but we are able to spend the time to understand what the customer deployment and business goals are to work with them to identify the best solution for their needs. We can offer everything from short to long range applications featuring line of sight to near and non line of sight modulations in licensed and unlicensed frequencies from 500 MHz to almost 6 GHz, each with various quality of service levels.

Our WaveRider products have tremendous customer loyalty and our recently launched next generation units outperform all 900 MHz competitors for range, stability and most importantly throughput with up to 32 Mpbs per 4 sector Base Station. Our Broadband Wireless Internet Network or what we call BWIN is most easily understood as a Wireless solution based on the CableLabs DOCSIS. We have deployed BWIN globally providing triple play services in more than 50 frequency ranges and with the recent and current spectrum auctions and offerings in the 700 MHz range we are ideally positioned to grow this solution even more. We acquired Spectrum Signal Processing to take advantage of their Software Defined Radio technology in future products. Spectrum's primary market has been the Defense sector and we are now moving them into commercial and public safety markets.

Often overlooked is that we also operate our own service provision company called YourLink which is one of the largest wireless ISPs in Western Canada and also operates a number of small cable companies in western Canada. Operating this business gives us very valuable insight into the challenges and issues most commonly faced by a large percentage of our customers.

Q: You offer two primary product segments, WiMAX and 'Cable'. What are you doing in regards to the latter?
A: Our two primary product segments are actually Broadband Wireless and Converged Wired. In what is commonly referred to as our Cable business, we have developed and launched a number of products in our Digital Video segment to meet the huge demand of that growth market in addition to our complete line of legacy analog or digital modulators and upconverters. Our CableVista Edge Decoder has been approved and deployed extensively by many of the Multiple Service Operators (MSOs) and our VistaLynx Edge QAM is gaining traction globally. We are also very excited that our next generation high density Edge QAM product we call the HyperQAM is very close to being launched to specifically address the expanding needs of the MSOs and Cable Operators to offer Switched Digital Video, Video on Demand and other features to their customers.

Also very important to understand is that Vecima is a major OEM supplier to the Cable and Digital Video industries providing key modules and products to some of the world's largest companies. This key segment of our business is managed by our VP of OEM Sales Bob Colwill.

Q: You are very close to launching 3.65 GHz for the US Market and 5 GHz globally, what will that mean for your product line and capabilities?
A: We are very excited about the imminent launch of the 3.65 GHz and 5 GHz WiMAX products as we already have a backlog for both of these solutions. These products will round out our Fixed WiMAX solution and allow us to be in an even better position to serve our customers' needs.

Q: What do you believe will be the impact of Mobile WiMAX on the market?
A: Wow, that is a tough question. There is no question there is incredible excitement in the market regarding Mobile WiMAX but the road to ubiquitous coverage even in major urban centres is going to be quite challenging to say the least. In addition to the technical hurdles that will need to be overcome, the competition from the incumbent carriers is likely to also be disruptive to business and revenue projections. To stir the pot a pot a bit think of the issue of base stations having to be installed every few hundred metres in built up areas to provide for indoor coverage and the possibility of municipal regulators pushing back is very real, especially in predominately residential areas where there are already many rules and covenants. I think the whole WiMAX community is closely watching all the early adopters and deployments to gauge their success and learn from their mistakes so we can individually and collectively capitalize on this exciting and cutting edge technology. As a company totally focused on delivering Last Mile Solutions to the market we will definitely play a role in WiMAX globally for many years to come.

Q: What difference will the advent of the Mobile solution you are developing mean to your offering?
A: Many WiMAX suppliers are totally focused on launching a mobile solution even though there are significant technical and business challenges for manufacturers and operators alike. While our Mobile WiMAX solution is under development and while the entire industry works to overcome the challenges of mobile WiMAX, we continue to work with our customers to show them the benefits of a Fixed WiMAX solution which is immediately available, deployable and fully supported.

For more information:
Email: sales@vecima.com
Website: www.vecima.com

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