WiMAX, an increasingly popular form of wireless broadband access, could be accessible through mobile devices with startup Jacket Micro Devices leading the way.

The Atlanta-based company said it will distribute what it is calling the “market’s first complete mobile WIMAX RF (radio frequency) front end module” in January.

Jacket Micro Devices is targeting product launch for the second quarter of next year.

Intersouth Partners of Durham is one of the major investors in Jacket Micro Devices, having led a $12 million round of funding in October. Noro-Moseley of Atlanta is also an investor.

The M30001 is a miniscule module, which measures 7 millimeters in length and width and 1.2 mm in depth. It is designed to fit into devices such as wireless handsets.

Jacket Micro Devices is targeting an emerging market for wireless devices that can utilize WiMAX. In-Stat Research recently estimated that the market for such units would top 200 million units by 2009.

“JMD’s WiMAX RF module will be an important component in the company’s broad suite of products that are addressing broadband wireless markets from wireless area networks to WiMAX,” John Glushik of Intersouth Partners, told WRAL Local Tech Wire. “This is just the latest example of how the company’s experienced management team has developed technology ahead of trends and been able to take advantage of significant market opportunities.”

Unlike WiFi, or wireless fidelity, technology, WiMAX is capable of delivering broadband access over wide distances. It is positioned in the marketplace as an alterative to digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable high-speed services. WiMAX also does not require antennas to be within line of sight of transmitters.

Clearwire, which recently began offering wireless service across the Research Triangle area, utilizes WiMAX technology.

Sprint has announced plans to offer WiMAX over its wireless network.

“We are convinced that WiMAX will offer consumers a new and exciting option for mobile broadband connectivity,” said Jim Stratigos, chief executive officer of Jacket Micro Devices. “Our modules will greatly simplify the design of WiMAX products and turn what could be a challenging RF circuit design with many disparate active and passive components into a single tested and ready to use component.”

Jacket Micro Devices, which was launched in 2002, is based on radio frequency technology developed by researchers at Georgia Tech. Its proprietary technology uses organic materials rather than conventional materials such as ceramic that are used in modules.

Jacket Micro Devices: www.jacketmicro.com