Is WiMax the next zero Billion Dollar market?

Will WiMax meet the fate of ATM, ISDN, and HomeRF? Or is it going to become a booming global technology? Maybe somewhere in the middle, as an emerging markets play for backhaul?

Will LTE vs. WiMax be the 4G question here in the US? Or, is the 700MHz auction going to change everything? We look at some interesting possibilities and build an outlook for this fascinating new technology which has the potential to “disrupt”. The most likely correct answer to our lead-in question (will WiMax become a “zero Billion $ market” like ISDN) is “not likely”. But the prospects of this new technology for a resounding market success are still very much up in the air.

With the collapse, at least for now, of the Sprint-Clearwire initiative, the early WiMax market will be slower to develop within the U.S. But the WiMax forum has now extended it’s roadmap to include the 700MHz band; and the outcome of the US 700MHz auction could light a fire under plans for WiMax. And there are a lot of bright spots outside the U.S.

There is also the issue of whether densely-populated urban areas may be better served by special-purpose mesh network, high power/custom antenna system outdoor Wi-Fi systems.  There are already nearly over 500 metro-style deployments in cities (of various scale, and for various applications) that have been deployed as some type of shared outdoor Wi-Fi mesh network; we will take a closer look at both the technical, and business issues, and differences of using this type of unlicensed broadband service in a Metro area, compared to using WiMax.

We are reviewing and researching the 200-250 worldwide test deployments and commercial offerings of WiMax commercial services launched to date; the use WiMax in licensed and unlicensed spectrum; how mobile 802.16-2005 (e) will compete with existing 3G cellular, and 4G/LTE solutions; WiMax performance and range versus incumbent solutions; along with regulatory, technical, and business issues that are pertinent to WiMax market development both in the US and in emerging, “greenfield” markets. Why is OFDM so terrific? OFDMA? What does the MIMO get you here? How about indoor penetration of 802.16-2005 (e) signals? We’ll begin posting a blog series on the WiMax market development issue soon, with hard facts, data, and rationale.

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