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« Sprint Nextel Names Mobile WiMax Service Xohm | Main | Clearwire Quietly Tests Mobile Gear in Seattle »

August 24, 2007

BusinessWeek Charts WiMax History, Future

By Glenn Fleishman

BusinessWeek offers an exhaustive and interesting rundown on WiMax’s origins and potential: Intel drove the WiMax ship starting when it learned the real per-home cost of fiber-optic installation from the telcos. They ran screaming, apparently, right into wireless options that might not provide the same raw speed, but would be effective alternatives to the super-expensive FTTH (fiber to the home) strategy that BusinessWeek says Intel was considering partially bankrolling.

WiMax arose out of a lot of competing industry ideas and a niche core of existing vendors. Those vendors are still thriving, by the way, even as Intel pulled out all the stops. The article doesn’t deal with the major evolution of WiMax moving from 802.16-2004 (the rollup of everything up to fixed 802.11d networking) to 802.16-2005, which added 802.16e, has been labeled mobile WiMax and changed the rules of the game.

Fixed WiMax was a T-1 and better replacement with some advantages and disadvantages. (In the U.S., the big problem is having the right band to use it.) Mobile WiMax, which technically encompasses fixed, nomadic, and mobile uses, could transform the wireless industry for voice and data, and challenge incumbents wireline firms to compete on WiMax’s terms or to do better, forcing out faster speeds and lower prices to stay firmly in the game.

The writer points out pretty clearly the challenges, expenses, and unknown factors involved in WiMax from massively backed to massively deployed, but also notes how quickly WiMax has become a standard of worldwide interest, with early deployments and tests rolling out in many countries—in some cases, covering parts of countries.

Posted by Glennf at August 24, 2007 1:30 PM

Categories: mainstream press


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