Intel, KACST sign MoU to launch wireless mobile R&D lab

JEDDAH — Intel is to launch its first wireless mobile services R&D lab in the Middle East for which Intel Corporation and King Abdu Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) have signed an agreement.

By Our Correspondent

Published: Tue 24 Jun 2008, 11:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:12 PM

The new centre will be hosted at KACST in Riyadh and it will serve the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region.

“Research and development are the basis for future success and WiMAX is especially important in developing markets where wire line technology is limited due to the lack of infrastructure” Intel chairman Craig Barrett, Intel chairman said in a statement made available to Khaleej Times here on Thursday.

The statement said that with regional broadband penetration varying from 0.6 per cent in Egypt, 2.4 per cent in Saudi Arabia, to a maximum of 7.8 per cent in the UAE, WiMAX is believed to be the best positioned wireless technology to reach the whole Arab population.

“WiMAX requires virtually no infrastructure and can cover large rural areas with immediate benefits for the whole population. We are confident that this lab will provide an excellent platform for Arab scientists and scholars to be innovative in the field of telecommunications and in particular in the WiMAX and networking arena,” Barrett said.

“Research and development, and in particular, broadband availability via widespread implementation of WiMAX are critical to enabling the Arab economies to continue to grow. The young generation expects and deserves equal access to the tools of the knowledge economy and everyone will benefit as this generation becomes the leaders of tomorrow,” said Prince Dr Turki Saud Mohammed Al Saud, vice-president for Research Institutes at KACST.

“This is our first networking R&D lab of its kind in the region and Intel’s collaboration with KACST was crucial for its success. We thank KACST for the support and for sharing the belief that a centre of excellence of this kind is an important platform for the development of the region and for the nurturing of future talent and industry leaders,” said Abdulziz Al Noghaither, general manager, Intel, Saudi Arabia.

The statement explained that the lab will act as a hub to address the challenges of networking deployment, eliminate deployment hurdles for WiMAX-based wireless broadband, and offer professional services for wireless broadband service providers, telecom equipment manufacturers and system integrators.

It will also conduct WiMAX client and infrastructure equipment validation interoperability testing, custom studies for performance optimisation, pre-certification and experimentation with new WiMAX services and applications.

In addition to accelerating the deployment of WiMAX wireless broadband services, the lab will make use of best known methods from other regions to help stimulate new innovative ideas for deployment in the region. The lab will put emphasis toward WiMAX mobility and broadband coverage problems in the region as well as other challenges such as validation of end-to-end network deployment, interoperability between client and base station and feature validation per WiMAX Forum system and network profiles.

The number of operators that are supporting WiMAX in the region and around the world and the number of countries that have issued WiMAX licences have been growing steadily since last year. The wireless mobile services R&D lab extends Intel’s knowledge and experience in end-to-end validation of client and network infrastructure interoperability to the region and confirms Intel’s commitment to WiMAX deployment in emerging markets. Intel has already opened WiMAX interoperability labs with WiMAX operators in other parts of the world, such as the lab with Sprint and Clearwire in the United States, and is in the process of opening new ones across all continents.

WiMAX is already a robust standards-based technology with widespread ecosystem. More than 280 service providers have deployed fixed and mobile WiMAX solutions and there are more than 550 WiMAX Forum members worldwide. The WiMAX ecosystem delivers leading devices, infrastructure and silicon.

Intel, in collaboration with service providers, infrastructure equipment vendors, and device and PC manufacturers, plans to begin delivering integrated mobile WiMAX silicon for select notebook PCs by the end of 2008 in the US. “With its embedded WiMAX solutions for a variety of mobile devices, Intel is poised to support the promise of cost effective, high speed “broadband on the go,” the statement said.

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