Mobile WiMax gear lifts off

Mobile WiMax has turned a corner toward success, analysts said

Mobile WiMax, hyped for years by Intel and other vendors, has turned a corner toward reality, according to industry observers.

Mobile technology was outpacing the licensed wireless broadband market overall, and gear based on the emerging IEEE 802.16e mobile WiMax standard was leading the way, Sky Light Research said.

Unit shipments of network equipment and end-user devices for mobile broadband data grew 117 per cent in 2006 from the previous year, according to US-based Sky Light. Products built to the IEEE 802.16e standard led in growth even though the WiMax Forum industry group hadn't started certifying that the mobile products work together, analyst, Donna Carlson, said. WiMax Forum certification was set to begin in the middle of this year.

Sky Light's report also included Time Division-Code Division Multiple Access (TD-CDMA), IEEE 802.20 and proprietary products using Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDMA). It did not include advanced third-generation mobile systems because they were voice-based, Carlson said.

The entire wireless broadband market is fairly small, with about 26,000 base stations and about 1.5 million units of customer equipment shipped last year.

Base station units overall were up 57 per cent and customer gear up 88 per cent. But mobile WiMax was just gaining momentum, Carlson said.

Intel's backing had given WiMax a leg up, and Sprint Nextel made a big difference when it announced last year it would deploy mobile WiMax across the US for commercial service starting next year, Carlson said.

"It helped to sway carriers and open dialogues that were pretty much on hold for a while," Carlson said.

Current Analysis analyst, Peter Jarich, agreed.

"We've definitely built up momentum, and we're over that hump," Jarich said. Another driver has been the European Commission's move toward letting service providers use WiMax and other technologies in a spectrum band coming up for auction soon. The spectrum, around 2.5GHz, had originally been envisioned as being used for 3G cellular networks.

The WiMax Forum's second wave of certification is what really matters, Jarich said, because it would include performance-enhancing features such as multiple in, multiple out (MIMO) antenna systems and beam-forming. He predicted that testing would start late this year or in early 2008. Vendors were already rolling out 802.16e products that could probably be modified if necessary for certification, he said.

The progress didn't mean there wouldn't be kinks to work out, Jarich said. For the first year it's out there, the performance of mobile WiMax might disappoint users, he said. For one thing, unlike 3G systems, WiMax wasn't designed for mobility from the beginning, so it may take time to work out functions such as handoffs. But with real-world experience, he predicted carriers and vendors would be able to work out those problems.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?