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The November 24, 2002 Issue Provided by System Dynamics Inc.
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Wireless HDTV: An all-software MAC from M-TEC WIRELESS

We first met William Watté several years ago at one of our Broadband Home conferences. His company, M-TEC WIRELESS, has been an early advocate of broadband wireless networks and 5GHz/OFDM technology. They have evolved their original business plan -- which was focused on creating OEM modules -- into one offering their technologies as components of devices and chipsets. They "see the numerous chipset manufacturers as our partners."

In a recent interview William told us that "In some way, we have a similar solution to what Magis Networks is offering: we have a MAC solution offering QoS for video distribution, and the development is based on the knowledge of HiperLAN2. However, we differ from Magis in some key points."

Their distinctive intellectual property consists of two parts:

  • SViP, their Streaming Video Protocol, a proprietary wireless LAN protocol for distributing multiple high quality video, audio and voice signals inside a home while still providing Internet access to standard IEEE 802.11a mobile terminals. They assert that a WLAN network with SViP has extensive QoS capabilities and supports 4 HDTV streams and computer data traffic in the same LAN.
  • McCore, a dedicated processor core optimized for the Medium Access Control layer in a high-speed wireless LAN. They say that standard software can provide neither the response time nor the speed that is required in the MAC layer, and requires a dedicated hardware solution implemented in an ASIC; in their view this "cast-in-silicon" solution lacks flexibility. McCore is a programmable software core capable of processing large amounts of data; it receives not only the MAC data, but also the associated processing code, allowing flexibility to adapt to future improvements without hardware changes.

William said their major differentiation from Magis is compatibility with 802.11a. "Both our SViP (Streaming Video Protocol) and an 11a system can work on the same frequency. QoS for SViP remains assured." He added "One of the keys to accomplish this is in our fully software configurable MAC. While most MACs have a software configurable part, they usually also need some hardware assistance for the most critical timings. M-TEC WIRELESS has a solution to control even the lowest layers of the MAC in software. This allows us to not only run SViP and 11a simultaneously, but be ready for any standard or proprietary system in 5 GHz (11i, 11e, etc.). "

William was at Comdex showing "the strength of our system to distribute streaming HDTV videos compared to an 11a system. We can show four of these videos at DVD quality, while 11a can't even cope with one."

M-TEC believes their solution provides the quality of video consumer electronics companies and TV producers want, while meeting the end users' needs. These qualities include ease of use, QoS, inexpensive implementation, auto-configuration and standards compatibility. However, many bigger players have started in other directions. Thus the acid test will be what level of traction M-TEC can get with the influential players in the industry. We'll be looking forward to hearing William's feedback after the follow-ups from COMDEX take place.

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