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Wireless Networking Communications Hardware

Companies Betting on WiMAX 106

PreacherTom writes "This week, two companies — NextWave and Clearwire — filed to go public and make their fortunes with WiMAX, a wireless broadband technology expected to make serious inroads into the telecom market by offering a high-speed alternative to DSL, Cable, and other current offerings. Market researcher Gartner Dataquest expects the North American WiMAX services market to swell from 30,000 connections in 2006 to 21.2 million by 2011. Could this be the new backbone of the mobile effort?"
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Companies Betting on WiMAX

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  • some perspective (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:18PM (#17315160)
    Gartner Dataquest expects the North American WiMAX services market to swell from 30,000 connections in 2006 to 21.2 million by 2011
    In the first 3 years of national cellular service, 69.8 million connections were maintained by just under 300 million Americans. They are expecting 21.2 million connections in 7 years. Hell, even the telegraph the Model T (100% proprietary - a single company, Ford, produced it) made a comparatively bigger impact.
  • Mobile, nothing... (Score:3, Informative)

    by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:25PM (#17315264) Homepage
    ...if they can provide an last-mile Internet connectivity solution (that doesn't involve geosynchronous satellites) to rural areas, I know of at least two clients (my parents) who would not only be *very* interested in signing a contract, but who would probably put whichever company gets there first on their holiday-card list.

    For rural business locations, there's a big gap between a T1 (very expensive) and dial-up or satellite (both slow in different ways). This would make 95% of their IT issues disappear overnight. (It's amazing how many 'Net apps really don't like ping times in excess of 1000ms.)
  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:26PM (#17315298)
    Of interest (not trying to spread FUD), one of the board of directors was the man responsible for promising Baystar that Microsoft was going to invest in SCO. This was reported on GROKLAW ever so recently when people were wondering where to find this guy (forget his name... something like Davidson). Not that I expect there to be a Clearwire/Microsoft/Baystar/SCO link but thought others might find it interesting so just wanted to post it. I live in Seattle and dumped Speakeasy ever so recently and when I found this out, it was definitely left a lingering bad taste in my mouth that made me second guess my decision. As for the service, the download speeds are great, upload speeds suck. Good if you are just Joe Average surfer but bad if you are a web developer. Also, check for cellphone towers and other things like that in your vicinity as they will cause interference.
  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:20PM (#17315956)
    ClearWire offers services in my area.. i looked into it.. for what i get with TimeWarner Cable (at 45$ a month) it would cost me >100$ a month and i would have to sign a two year contract.. sorry no go for me..

    We where a test bed for Nextel's wireless - it was nice and was about 80$ a month for the same services as i get with cable - but the closed the service.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:30PM (#17316050) Homepage

    The article mentions the 2.5 GHz specturm. It isn't all that much different than the 2.4 we know and love today, except that the spectrum is licensed.

    Yah, but with a license it's likely that devices and access points can transmit at higher powers. That can provide either higher bits/second, or longer distances. Also, does the WiMax standard provide for a larger spectrum allocation than the WiFi does? I don't know, but if it does that would certainly be a boost to available bandwidth.

    There is already sufficient suspicion that cellular transmissions aren't good for you. I can't imagine WiMax is going to fare much better here, but that has yet to be seen.

    In fact it's exactly the opposite. There's a lot of evidence that cellular transmissions have no harmful effect at all. There was at least one study done in Finland that was discussed on Slashdot not long ago.
  • by mo ( 2873 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:34PM (#17316100)
    WiMax is regulated spectrum. IE: the FCC will not allow the average consumer to buy equipment to build towers.
    It's intended use is more as competition to both local DSL/Cable bandwidth providers, as well as competition for Cell networks.

    If whoever owns the spectrum rights for WiMax (like NextWave) decides to offer a reasonable mobile data service over WiMax then it will force Verizon et al to bring their prices down.
    Also, VoIP over WiMax could provide a compelling voice platform for competing with cell networks.
  • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:36PM (#17316112) Journal
    > I understand the slow data transfer rates, but why the slow ping times?

    It's waiting behind all the other data. Once your link is saturated, latency goes through the roof.

    The V.whatever compression could play a factor. DSL's early signal compression was so bad that the problem was the reverse -- gamers were actually preferring dialup because the ping times were actually lower.

  • by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:47PM (#17316236) Homepage
    Judging by the comments on Broadband Reports they sound just as bad as wireless phone companies in the contract department -- automatically resubscribing people to another year of service and charging $180 to break out of "contracts" early.

    While I'm not usually one to defend big business, it's not really all that difficult to cancel your plan after your contract expires. I've done it before, and it's actually a very easy process. As for the period before your contract expires, you *did* sign the contract, presumably in exchange for a huge discount on your phone. You didn't have to sign the could have paid full price for the phone, and entered into a month-by-month agreement with the provider. It's your own fault if you're not happy with the contract that you signed.
  • by mo ( 2873 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:49PM (#17316258)
    TFA is a bit vague, but I believe the business plan of these companies works as follows:

    1) Raise a bunch of investor capital (done)
    2) Use the capital to buy out the WiMax spectrum at auction (done)
    3) Raise more money with an IPO
    4) Use the IPO money to build a residential/business broadband service

    At this point they're competing with DSL and cable providers, but not cell networks because the coverage is still spotty. Of course, coverage doesn't matter much for residential service since your house isn't really moving. After they get a good amount of subscribers, then they can:

    5) Build out their coverage enough to compete with the Cell networks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:51PM (#17316276)
    There was a recent article in IEEE Spectrum that the reason companies are pushing WiMax instead of Wifi is that the spectrum is licensed -- its not free like wifi. Sorry I can't find a link. So we can't just buy WiMax access points and transmit. Its controlled by the companies who hold the license. []

    Look near the bottom for the companies who hold the license for each country.

    The article goes on to say that there is nothing special about WiMax that allows it much further coverage than wifi. Wifi could do the same thing, but then companies can't make money off of it.
  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:05PM (#17316518)
    My understanding of wimax (is there even a consensus on this stuff?) isnt as a last-mile solution as much as it is a wireless infrastructure. Its not going to replace home/corporate wifi but it will bring T1+ speeds between nodes without paying for the monthly t1, etc. So for rural this may be a godsend. In areas too expensive to lay down more copper or fiber it might make economic sense to use wimax like a Motorola Canopy/WISP as well as "wireless t1." Your grandpas laptop wont be able to get on wimax, but the box mounted to the side of his house can. From there he can plug in a cheapo linksys wireless router.
  • by sg3000 ( 87992 ) * <> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:01PM (#17318412)
    > There is no uniform global licensed spectrum for WiMAX. You can run WiMAX in the unlicensed spectrum. There are already companies doing it.

    There are two different standards for WiMAX (from an access perspective).

    The older 16d standard (designed for fixed environments) can work in unlicensed (5.8 GHz) spectrum and licensed spectrum. The newer 16e standard is only defined for licensed spectrum (2.3, 2.5, and 3.5 GHz). The majority of the service providers will deploy 16e because it supports mobility, in addition to fixed applications.

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