Wireless vendor Alvarion yesterday announced the latest upgrade to its BreezeAccess VL system that will let operators prioritize voice-over-IP (VoIP) or video traffic efficiently enough to provide carrier-class offerings of these latency-sensitive services, according to the company.

An OFDM-based solution operating in the 5 GHz bands, BreezeAccess VL 4.0 is a software upgrade that is designed to handle 260 concurrent VoIP calls in each sector—more than six times more than previous versions of BreezeAccess VL—while also supporting 8 MB/s data rate, said Patrick Leary, Alvarion assistant vice president of marketing.

“Generation 4.0 essentially is almost a complete rewrite of the firmware,” Leary said. “Based on customer feedback, voice and video have become so important to the network that we really wanted to optimize those two applications—in particular, voice from the operator/carrier side and video from the municipal side.”

Indeed, municipal customers often use the BreezeAccess solution to backhaul video from surveillance cameras, so the combination of the system’s ability to handle 40,000 packets per second and the prioritization enabled with the 4.0 version of the software makes the solution ideal for this application, Leary said.

“If you have the versions of BreezeAccess VL that have been shipping since last summer, it’s just a matter of a software upgrade,” he said. “It’s a very simple process with batch updating.”

In addition to the 5 GHz products, the 4.0 firmware version also can be used with Alvarion’s 4.9 GHz system, the BreezeAccess 4900, Leary said.

The BreezeAccess system can deliver data rates of 32 MB/s per sector—“a pretty conservative estimate,” Leary said—and generally maintains that capacity even with a number of concurrent VoIP calls. By comparison, most other wireless networks effectively lose almost 50% of their advertised throughput when faced with several VoIP calls, Leary said.

“It used to be that, as you used smaller packets, the actual system capacity would drop because of all the overhead associated with processing those smaller packets,” he said. “What this release does is it flattens out that curve, so you have the same amount of high capacity, regardless of packet size, because it does a lot of things to strip out that overhead.”

Currently, the BreezeAccess VL 4.0 is in beta testing. It is expected to be commercially available on July 1, Leary said.