[qi:_earth2tech] WiMAX might be losing broadband mindshare in the U.S., but when it comes to adding digital intelligence to the power grid, it’s suddenly emerging as an early contender. WiMAX gear maker Alvarion (s ALVR), which is one of the top three manufacturers in the industry, along with Alcatel-Lucent (s ALU) and Motorola (s MOT), told Earth2Tech that it has been doing a couple of pilot projects using WiMAX gear to connect energy data in smart meter deployments. Alvarion wouldn’t disclose its partners, but said it plans to do so shortly.
In those smart-grid trials, Alvarion’s gear was used at a collection point on the network to aggregate smart meter data. Alvarion tells us it is also working on WiMAX-based power regulation devices. And outside of the smart grid, Alvarion has already been offering its gear to utilities that want to sell WiMAX-based broadband services.
While a national U.S. WiMAX network has been slow going, the movement to integrate WiMAX into the latest smart-grid gear is growing. GE (s GE) and Intel (s INTC) have developed a WiMAX-based smart meter using startup Grid Net’s software, and other startups like Full Spectrum are selling gear that uses WiMAX where power is distributed from generation to substation.