Intel Corporation has announced the availability of its first WiMAX product, providing equipment manufacturers and carriers the ability to deliver next-generation wireless broadband networks around the world. In addition, several service providers worldwide announced plans to begin commercial WiMAX trials based on Intel silicon products later this year, giving consumers and businesses a glimpse at this emerging wireless high-speed broadband technology. Key equipment providers also announced WiMAX solutions based on Intel's product..
The Register (via Wireless Watch) had a recent review of the WiMAX Summit in Paris, France and the related standards debate.
- It quickly emerged that the issue preoccupying both vendors and potential operators is the road to mobility and exactly how the transition to the forthcoming 802.l6e mobile standard will be achieved. With a key WiMAX Forum meeting to be held in the coming week in Spain, and 802.16e set to be ratified this year, it is essential to the uptake of the platform that the route to mobility is clarified as soon as possible.
- All agree that 802.16 will be the platform with which WiMAX hits the big time. Most of the equipment majors are merely licensing fixed 802.16d (now renamed 802.16-2004) gear, while focusing their own development efforts on 'e'. That means that the chances for chipmakers to net the big OEM deals - with Alcatel, Nortel and the others - rely on the mobile standard. But there are two basic schools of thought among the chipmakers and their licensees as to their strategy in the interim.
- One is that there is a period of at least two years before 802.16e achieves volume, and that the upgrade path will be complex. That means the priority is to make 802.16-2004 as impressive as possible in order to drive short term sales and increase confidence in WiMAX. This will mean creating a so-called 'd+' technology that goes beyond the basic stipulations of the fixed standard, with a focus on aspects such as quality of service for voice and video, and portability with consumer grade subscriber equipment.
The other view is that the market needs to move to mobility more rapidly, by offering pre-standard networks that provide most of the functionality promised for 'e'. This strategy rests on the belief - or hope - that the mobile standard will come to market rapidly and that the leap from its predecessor will be a simple one.
In related news, only days before a deadline for its first licensing fee payment, South Korea’s Hanaro Telecom announced Tuesday it will forego a license to roll out a WiBro mobile broadband network (based on 802.16e technology). Hanaro was one of three Korean operators granted licenses by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in January. "We still believe WiBro is commercially viable. We plan to grant the remaining licensee withdrawn from Hanaro to an eligible hopeful,’’ MIC director general Kim Dong-soo said.
[via my weblog, The Register, MIC]