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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

WiMAX Challenges

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A detailed backgrounder on the challenges WiMAX is facing right now, both political and technical. The technical issues are mainly the size of the device, power consumption and handover. It is far from being realized as a truly mobile technology which gives users high data speeds on the move. That is one of the reasons why its called Fixed Wireless or Nomadic. But then it is a relatively new technology. They will be solved as more and more money goes into it.

The political one is a bit more complex though. Its the 802.20 standard. Better known as Qualcomm's Flash OFDM! Seems that it has been already standardized by TIA and it has actually worked out a solution for the handover problem. QC has always maintained that Flash OFDM is a technologically superior. Seems that it is so! The last time 802.20 made news was when the working group was suspended. The article has a very nice summary of why and how did it happen. IEEE has sorted out things now and the working group is back on track.

The year 2007 seems to be poised for a rollicking start. Its back to the high stakes games!

Tags: WiMAX, 802.20, Flash OFDM, IEEE Standards, 4G
posted by Rajiv, 10:55 PM


WiMAX was just gaining momentum and we are having 802.20 challenging it would really curb the chances of adpoting any technology by mainstream OEM equipment manufacturers till single solution WINS.
Said Blogger sawan, 7:23 AM  

WiMAX has two variants- fixed/nomadic and mobile. They are two 'completely' incompatible technologies. They could have as well given them two different names.

Fixed/nomadic is interesting to emerging nations. Lack of copper and long 'last mile' allows wireless deployments, and fixed/nomadic WiMAX is ideally suited to be the best alternative- to both internet and voice telephony. Again, just to make it clear, if you have DSL and it is working fine, then you don't need WiMAX no matter what they tell you.

Mobile WiMAX is interesting to developed nations. It comes as the best possible alternate to 3G cellular. I don't think it will come as a replacement of 3G, it will come as a complementary technology, as the second best. It will allow some operators to offload the bandwidth, allow dual technologies to efficiently manage their traffic and spectrum, depending on location, application and mobility (as three governing factors).

I don't think anything that is promoted by Qualcomm is going to take off. Not because that technology is inferior, but because of the experience we all had with proprietary technologies. They turn out to be expensive and monopolistic. Nobody wants to join that bandwagon again. I would keep my eyes closed to the technologies that come that route- especially in the such ubiquitous technology domains (such as wireless connectivity to all).

This turned out long- may be, I will post this as an article on my blog! :)
Said Blogger Sujai K, 4:40 AM  

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