Thursday, February 18, 2010

WiMAX again

Just a mental note to self. Two recent articles of interest on WiMAX.

The first does a comparison of the various post 3G standards. It has this nice brief description of what's different (remembering it is a US example);

Existing 3G networks, like the ones run by all the major carriers, promise download speeds in the 1-2 megabit range. That's good enough for Web surfing. But WiMAX, HSPA+, and the LTE systems that Verizon and AT&T are starting to set up are much faster—think 5, 8, 12 or even 21 megabits/second, with more to come in the future.

These aren't phone-call networks, though they'll probably make phone calls. Think of them as high-speed Internet pipes into anything you're carrying with you while you're on the move—and potentially, hopefully, competition for the cable/telephone ISP duopoly that holds a death grip on home Internet.

The story puts HSPA+ in the same bucket as WiMAX and LTE and on the criteria of the article it is probably reasonable. The articles biggest criticism of WiMAX has been the wait, and the device volumes. Both of these are now historic concerns. The real test between HSPA and WiMAX isn't their theoretic peak speeds but their performance as networks with real customers. That's something we have to wait for.

But consumers aren't just concerned about raw speed, it is the price/quality combination that counts. There are plenty of reasons to believe that WiMAX should be superior here.

The second is an update on a thesis of the convergence of LTE and WiMAX standards. Ultimately the 3G battle between the GSM and CDMA camps was resolved by a CDMA air-interface and GSM network standards.

The issue and challenge for LTE operators is their need to be an upgrade pathe for the existing voice and text suite. These are relatively high margin businesses compared to data and the business case for the migration to al IP is just as hard for a mobile operator as it is for a fixed operator.

It is in the interests of the mobile communications providers to maintain a separation between the higher margin voice market and the very different mobile computing market.

There is lots to observe.

1 comment:

Vic N said...

just save the kittens!