We have been investigating several WiMax deals recently, some trying to build and deploy new WiMax operators, and some working on delivering better inforastructure to WiMax operators.
As we are progressing our due-diligence, we are struggling with the following issues (opinions, facts, and comments welcome on all of them...).
(1) Does the technology work on the long haul
If WiMax is the next Wireless DSL replacement, how does the performance degrade with the distance ?
(2) At what point in time does WiMax started to work for full mobility and roaming, and becomes a potential replacement for 3G technologies
Several good postings recently on this subject
Jeff Nolan :: Making the Case for WiMax
The Intel Technology Journal has an issue focused on WiMax. link courtesy of FierceWireless They expect to have fixed outdoor wireless in first half (H1) of 2005, with fixed indoor wireless equipment in H2 '05, and integrated laptop and portable gear in 2006. It's interesting that they are going after outdoor first, then ramping down the signal strength for indoor installations...
Besides spectrum, another obstacle for WiMAX is the development of the IEEE 802.16e specification for mobile wireless broadband. This spec (part of the larger WiMAX 802.16 standard) is not expected to be ratified until the end of 2005. Other restraints include base station interoperability and higher costs until that issue is solved and economies of scale can be achieved. ..
Ron Gruia :: Intel Developer Forum Update - Part 2
WiMAX, also known as the IEEE 802.16 standard, is a wireless specification that can deliver two-way Internet access at throughputs of up to 75 megabits per second at long range. WiMAX proponents claim that it can transmit data for distances up to 30 miles between broadcast towers, covering areas having more than a mile in radius, all of this at a speed exceeding current DSL and cable broadband capabilities. Intel envisions three WiMAX models: fixed access (alternative to DSL or cable broadband), portable use (within metro zones) and a full mobile system that includes hand-offs as users move between cells (the IEEE 802.16 committee still has some work to do in delivering that mobility management). The Rosedale design does not include the radio element (Intel plans on working with third-parties on that front) and enterprise functionality (i.e. routing or switching details that will be part of a yet to be finalized specification)....
Om Malik :: TI: WiMAX, or WiFUD
check all the comment posted after Om's article, like this one Damn near everything related to WiMAX is a complete fraud. 1) It will never provide a broadband experience at 20-30miles. The physics are obvious. 2) It not even relevant on the backhaul scene due to two developments, a) WSP's have bulk contracts with ILECs and the new rates show great deflation, b) MULTIPLEX ers, allow carriers to extract 2x-4x the normal T1 yield. Net-net the monthly cost for backhaul is only changing modestly, even though volume has exploded. This is just like whats happening on the retail side. Big surprise. So, if WiMAX is a complete fraud, why does it have momentum? Intel is in a colassol(sp?) bind, with the CPU having long ago entered "overshoot" mode, and after they got the ass' kicked in the GPU market, they have to have some kind of motivation for future PC buyers to buy new PCs....
WiFiNetNews :: France to Get Nationwide WiMax
Altitude Telecom, the only owner of a nationwide 3.5 Ghz license in France, plans to use Alvarion gear to build a broadband wireless network in the country: The Alvarion gear is based on WiMax, though not yet certified as WiMax because the certification process hasn’t started yet. Altitude will start out with four counties and move on from there. It’s interesting to note that Altitude plans to use the wireless network to serve small to large businesses. That target market is the same market that broadband wireless operators have traditionally targeted. WiMax, however, has often been touted as a DSL replacement that could be used to serve the residential market. Perhaps Altitude will use the next generation of WiMax gear to target the residential market...
WiFiNetNews :: TI Doubts WiMax
TI, which is not heavily into WiMax like its competitor Intel, says WiMax won't be very effective at bringing broadband to the home: It's true that it's far from certain that WiMax will be anywhere near the success that Intel promises, but most of the reasons TI gives here are pretty weak. Because China hasn't jumped on the bandwagon and because broadband wireless standards have failed in the past doesn't prove that WiMax will fail. If WiMax products have a lower price tag and are more robust than previous attempts at broadband wireless, the technology has a chance of success. WiMax can be far easier to deploy than most wireline technologies and appears to offer a good alternative to wireline especially in developing regions of the world. But there are plenty of reasons that WiMax could fail, which aren't mentioned by the TI executive. In the United States only a few spectrum holders own the licenses that would be ideal for a WiMax deployment and it's not clear that they're interested in the technology. One of those companies, Nextel, has expressed interest in using other proprietary technologies in the spectrum. Other large operators that don't own such prime spectrum are unlikely to want to execute a major deployment in unlicensed frequencies. The TI executive suggests that a portable or mobile version of WiMax might have a better chance of success. While future iterations of WiMax may sound more promising than the initial fixed version, it's very difficult to know today what the market will look like by the time a mobile or portable solution becomes available. By then, other technologies may have leapfrogged WiMax. It's also not clear that WiMax will indeed result in low-cost equipment for operators. Some wireless ISPs have said that vendors they've spoken to have said that the first couple generations of their base stations won't be interoperable with clients from any vendor. That lack of interoperability may not be very attractive for many operators and may prohibit prices from dropping. Ultimately, there are plenty of forces working against WiMax but much of what the TI executive says here sounds to me like sour grapes....