WiMAX vendor Alvarion, which has been targeting Internet service providers, public safety, municipalities and utilities looking to deploy smart grids with WiMAX technology, introduced a product designed for the license-exempt and quasi-licensed frequency bands.

Ashish Sharma, Alvarion's vice president of corporate communications, said the company already has been gaining traction for services in the 3.65 GHz band. According to Shabatay, the 3.65 GHz band will be one of the most popular frequencies in the United States for WiMAX deployments, as the licenses are practically free and are protected from interference. Entities must apply for the license with the FCC and pay a nominal fee. Once the license is granted, that licensee must register each site. While the license is non-exclusive, should another entity have a similar license, it must demonstrate that the license doesn't interfere with the first licensee.

Rather than choosing mesh Wi-Fi for video, a growing number of public-safety agencies and municipalities are opting for WiMAX, as Wi-Fi is limited in its ability to carry video and correct error transmission, as well as carry additional traffic.

Alvarion's BreezeMax Extreme solution is designed to help speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure into various segments by taking advantage of the 3.65 GHz band. A number of applications vying for the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money will call for the use of the 3.65 GHz band, Shabatay said.

The license-free solution also is engineered for the 5 GHz license-exempt band and accounts for interference. According to Alvarion, BreezeMAX Extreme is customized for two different market segments. BreezeMAX Extreme 3650 is targeted for service providers deploying broadband applications to consumers and businesses in the United States. BreezeMAX Extreme 5000 is targeted to the wireless ISP, public safety, municipality, smart power grid and government segments, as it enables applications such as voice, broadband data and video surveillance.

Last week, Alvarion announced it will work with National Grid, the second-largest utility company in the U.S., to participate in a smart power grid proof of concept with its BreezeMax 3650 solution, as part of a test bed for potential pilot projects in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The proof of concept is beginning this month and will provide backhaul for smart power grid smart meters and distribution automation devices for residences and businesses using WiMAX.