Nextel Testing OFDM High Speed Data
By Eric Lin, Fri Feb 06 03:30:00 GMT 2004

Today Nextel launched a local test of a new high speed mobile data service, but it's not based on Motorola's iDen standards. Instead, they are following in the high speed footsteps of the major South Korean carriers and testing a new protocol known as OFDM.

It was only three months ago when Nextel announced they would upgrade their packet data network to WiDen this year, quadrupling data speeds to a disappointing 56k. When it launches, it will already be well behind EDGE and 1x-RTT speeds on other networks. Today it was revealed that in addition to the WiDen upgrade, Nextel are also testing a new data service capable of speeds up to 3 Mbps -- equivalent to 1x EV-DO. Today they launched a website for users in the Raleigh-Durham metro area to join in the trial.

Although Carlo mentioned rumors that Nextel was experimenting with WiMax, this trial is actually running on OFDM, using hardware from Flarion. Unstrung has an excellent summary of OFDM. They explain that it's able to achieve incredibly high speeds with a minimum of bandwidth, as they quote Nextel President Tim Donohue saying "It's fast as hell." It's certainly faster than WiDen, that's for sure.