So is WiMAX the holy grail of tomorrows mobile networks? It is impossible to a come to a conclusion at this juncture, it all depends on how well it is adopted by end consumers and this depends on services that are being provided to them. So at the end of the day the “service provider” politics still rules. One of the main reasons why WiMAX has not picked up at the same pace as WiFi on a relative is scale is due to the fact that it is regarded as a competing technology to 3G rather than complimentary.

The beauty of WiMAX is that it inherently amalgamates data and voice communications. VoIP can be bundled on WiMAX with ease unlike 3G technologies where data services are additional building blocks to the intrinsic structure. To the end consumer it does not really matter. What matters most is QoS (Quality of Service). Given the widespread adoption and standardisation of 3G it seems to be winning the QoS battle, we should however not forget the breeding problem 3G has and perhaps still has. Incumbent telcos are naturally holding on to 3G due their investments in it or possibilities of partnerships in the 3G arena, so for them WiMAX is more of a threat and they would rather wait to break even and profit from their current 3G investments. Technically (at least on protocol interoperability) it is possible to hybrid 3G and WiMAX, however its a battle of egos out there and the political will to do this perhaps does not seem viable at least in the near future. Pockets of rational thinking do emerge every now and then and it is no secret that incumbent firms are playing around and tweaking WiMAX implementations albeit on a ‘sand box’ basis and few as active implementations.

WiMAX’s success lies with its bundling of VoIP services. Its bound to grow into some sort of “swiss knife” communication service which not only offers data and voice services but has the added advantage of mobility and roaming. Support from hardware vendors such as Nokia, Samsung and Intel clearly add weight to its chances of success. So on one hand its complementary to 3G and on the other hand its leaping towards 4G. Where do I see WiMAX in 5 years? Possibly pervasive and defacto by 10 years.


Thanks for writing this.

Vida added these pithy words on Oct 28 08 at 21:35

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The Future of Wireless – Part II



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