Tyco Electronics’ M/A-COM yesterday announced the availability of new high-power, 4.9 GHz WiMAX base stations and subscriber stations that are designed to be used by utilities and public-safety agencies.

By using directional antennas with the high-power WiMAX solution, operators can build private wireless broadband networks in the licensed 4.9 GHz band that feature 10 MB/s data throughput on links covering 10-12 miles on a 5 MHz channel, said Paul May, M/A-COM’s business development manager.

When the FCC established its rules for 4.9 GHz, it created a low-power mask designed primarily to allow commercial Wi-Fi technology to be used in the band and a high-power mask that also enabled the use of directional antennas, May said. M/A-COM has discontinued its low-power product line, he said.

“It really made it difficult to put together any sort of fixed network,” May said during an interview with MRT. “It was OK if you had two cars that were in proximity of each other, but it was fairly limited for building out infrastructure and doing anything on a cost-effective basis—you really had to put in so many access points that it was difficult to justify.”

With the new M/A-COM VIDA solution, operators can build wide-area networks for video surveillance, voice over IP and telephony applications, according to the company’s press release. Because the solution is built to WiMAX specifications, it has an open-standard architecture that includes the encryption and quality-of-service features that are part of the standard.

M/A-COM is unveiling the new solution at the UTC Conference this week in Orlando to help remind utility companies that they also can use the 4.9 GHz band for their networks, May said. While the FCC established the band for public-safety use, critical-infrastructure entities like utilities also can operate in the spectrum if they have an agreement with a public-safety partner, he said.

“It is complicated somewhat, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” May said. “At the end of the day, it may be in their best interest to try to come up with one of these arrangements.”