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Phase II (2005-2006)
Broadband Wireless Access/Wireless DSL
Phase II of the roll-out will entail the first mass-market application of WiMAX technology. With the backing of computer industry heavyweights such as Intel Corporation and Dell, this phase will involve the delivery of low cost, user installable premises equipment that will not have to be pointed at a base station. In conjunction with the equipment roll-out, the Forum anticipates that the number of wireless internet service providers (WISPs) utilizing WiMAX compatible technology will increase exponentially.
WiMAX IN DEPTH
Licence and licence-exempt spectrum 1.5-6 GHz
National operators, competitive carriers and ISPs
Voice, data and leased line services
^Licensed spectrum ^ Fixed network operators, mobile network operators, competitive carriers _ and ISPs voice and data
- Licensed spectrum -Fixed network operators, mobile network operators and
competitive carriers 'Voice and data
Figure 2.15 WiMAX roll-out phases
Phase III (2007)
Phase III of the rollout will focus on the development of a mobile-broadband market. In this final phase, laptops and other mobile computing devices will be fully integrated with WiMAX chips and antennas, allowing mobile workers to send and receive high-bandwidth files such as schematics, videos and multimedia presentations in real time over a wireless broadband connection.
The WiMAX Forum anticipates that the technology will be deployed for the offering of other products and services, as well. For example, some believe that cellular operators will have the opportunity to decrease their independence on backhaul facilities leased from their competitors through the use of WiMAX technology. Still others believe that the technology will provide a secondary communications network for law enforcement, fire protection and other public safety organizations in congested metropolitan areas (Figure 2.15).
WiMAX is coming, and along with it a great deal of vendor hype and operator confusion. WiMAX is the latest, and most-discussed, generation of wireless technology in years. Over the past few years there has been an extraordinary amount of hype and confusion surrounding WiMAX.
Unfortunately, this hype and confusion has resulted in the bar of hope being raised to such a high level that it will be very difficult for WiMAX to live up to expectations, despite potentially achieving a great deal. Further, because expectations have been raised to such a high level, there is a tendency to compare WiMAX with any and every wireless technology, irrespective of its area of application.
WiFi, MBWA, LMDS, Digital TV, 3G-based cellular and many present, future and past technologies are compared with WiMAX. Most of the time the conclusion reached is that WiMAX will compete with them or even replace them. WiMAX is a credible solution to a number of problems that have plagued the wireless industry since its inception. However, to judge it as a technology expected to make all other technologies vanish is taking things too far.
Without doubt WiMAX is capable of leading widespread adoption of broadband Internet access and changing the way PCs, handhelds and the World Wide Web are used but it will require more than one technology to alter how computer users live, work and play.
What is interesting is that the hype is based on future offerings expected from different flavours of WiMAX over the next couple of
The Business of WiMAX Deepak Pareek © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Table 3.1 BWA past failures and current drivers
Past reasons for failure Current drivers of success
Overly aggressive projections for Rising bandwidth demand
Proprietary, high-cost equipment Increasing need for connectivity
Inadequate equipment Emerging standards
Poor implementations Support from industry heavyweights
Intel, Fujitsu, Alcatel and Siemens High-spectrum costs Capital availability
years. While initial signals coming from the field are positive, it is still too early to declare this technology a success.
WiMAX comprised a fixed wireless solution (802.16-2004) and a portable/mobile solution (802.16e). Given that there are more differences than similarities between the two solutions, it is only natural that some confusion exists. However, this confusion has also resulted in raised expectations that will be difficult, if not impossible, for WiMAX to achieve (Table 3.1).
3.1 THE CONFUSION(S)
The key confusion is regarding actual performance, with respect to distance as well as throughput. For example, WiMAX was originally billed as a wireless technology that could deliver 70 Mbps and extend coverage to 50 km, or roughly 30 miles. Most press reports also assumed that 70 Mbps would be achievable everywhere, including at the cell edge. In large part, little has been done to correct these misconceptions.