Mobile WiMax standard claims criticized

The WiMax hype-machine went into -- believe it or not -- higher gear late last week, as the mobile WiMax standard, 802.16e, was formally approved by the IEEE standards group.

Already, vendors are claiming mobile data products are -- or will be -- "mobile Wimax," alongside those vendors putting "pre-WiMax" stickers on proprietary fixed wireless systems. One of the first offenders, Navini, has already claimed the lead in what it terms "pre-mobile WiMax."

Navini reckons its has 100,000 customers for its "802.16e-like" portable broadband product, including 36,000 with Unwired Australia. Its product is based on a different radio technology, but Navini has promised that in future it will stick a WiMax radio in its product alongside the proprietary one, to offer "dual-mode" devices.

The distinction between the two published WiMax standards is not, in fact as simple as the difference between "fixed" and "mobile," said Paul Senior, vice president of marketing at wireless broadband vendor Airspan, and a board member of the WiMax Forum. "802.16d (or 802.16-2004) is fixed and nomadic, and designed to work in regulated spectrum. 802.16e will include fixed and mobile WiMax."

While the mobile WiMax market could ultimately be much larger than fixed WiMax, that should not distract people from the big opportunity in fixed WiMax said Senior -- especially when fixed WiMax is now close to real delivery.

"Mobile WiMax can eventually be sold to virtually everyone on the planet, while fixed WiMax is about filling in the gaps in DSL coverage," said Senior. "Of course that's a smaller market -- but even fixed WiMax can be ten times as big as the fixed wireless we and others have been selling for ten years."

As a WiMax Forum board member, Senior is scathing about the use of "pre-WiMax" as a term for proprietary fixed or mobile wireless products whose vendors have promised migration to the standard. "At Airspan, we've never made any claim that products two or three years old had some sort of evolution path to WiMax. It's not possible to do a lot of that stuff."

The issue is not unique to WiMax -- the Wi-Fi Alliance has taken a similar stance against "pre-n" as a term for proprietary fast Wi-Fi products produced in advance of the IEEE's 802.11n standard.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Judge
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?