Future of WiMax

A while back I remember reading a comment here that "WiMax is not a
future proof technology" and that several manufacturers have dropped it
or something to that effect. I think it was in the starting a WiMax ISP
thread. This has stuck in my head, and I was curious if there was any
truth to this.

WiMax sounds promising, but I certainly don't hear a lot about it other
than Sprint/Clear. Is it just that everyone that's doing wireless is
sticking with relatively inexpensive 802.11 a/b/g/n products, or is
WiMax really a dead end?


The future of WiMAX seems a lot less promising now that FD-LTE is the
clear winner for wide-scale mobile deployment, and TD-LTE, 802.11n and
proprietary technologies will compete for non-paired spectrum and/or
niche markets.

But one can build a network with WiMAX and make money out of it;
global market forces have established the big picture, not what would
happen on a specific scenario.



LTE and WiMax a more siblings, than distinct rivalries. The technologies will grow together over time, versus, one taking the ascendancy, and the other, descent. WiMAX is here today, and long term evolution, well, let's see how the futures play out.

~Jay Murphy
IP Network Specialist
NM State Government

IT Services Division
PSB – IP Network Management Center
Santa Fé, New México 87505
"We move the information that moves your world."
“Good engineering demands that we understand what we’re doing and why, keep an open mind, and learn from experience.”
“Engineering is about finding the sweet spot between what's solvable and what isn't."
               Radia Perlman
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Lots of my clients (Wireless ISPs) have looked into deploying it,
however the costs are well over 20 times the cost of a unlicensed system
per access point. I know it will be deployed as we work with some of
the backend routing etc. and installation with some of clearwires subs,
but most of my clients have moved on to other cheaper, more proven

Just what is going on in the WISP industry for the most part. 802.11n
so far on point-2-point links, are working quite well, cheap hardware as
well as ease of use is playing factors in this. We are seeing 10+ mile
N links running 60-70 meg TCP and over 200 UDP using only 2x2 MIMO.

Yeah...that is really the crux of the problem. Every WISP I know would switch over in a heartbeat if the upfront cost was the same as deploying many well know 5.8GHz systems. Battling with interference in the 5.8GHz can be tough at times, at least with the 3.65GHz range there is some control over frequency use, but even so, dealing with frequency use in 5.8GHz is worth it for the cost savings.

And even then, there is not much spectrum in 3.65. It still don't
penetrate trees as well as 2.4 GHz as well.

Yup, the ability to pick up a $80 5.8ghz integrated device w/ antenna, etc.. that does PoE (eg: google NBM5-22), it's hard to argue for more expensive gear.

- Jared

For business purposes such as fixed wireless access for small branch
offices, it would seem that Wi-Max is superior to current GSM and CDMA
proprietary networks in that the upload/download speeds are symmetric.
It appears that GSM and CDMA networks are based on the asymmetric low
upload bandwidth/high download bandwidth model, thus placing severe
restrictions on business use for fixed locations.

This is not exactly true.

With the 3G networks (GSM) you can get.

7.2-Mbps HSDPA (downstream)
5.8-Mbps HSUPA (upstream)

LTE speeds are much more comparable to Wimax.

This is not exactly true.

With the 3G networks (GSM) you can get.

7.2-Mbps HSDPA (downstream)
5.8-Mbps HSUPA (upstream)

3gpp rel7 hsdpa/hsupa goes about 4 fold faster than that down and twice as fast up without having to resort to mimo.

whether any of these technologies can beat a recycled 802.11n phy with time division duplex in the mac layer as far as throughput goes is very much an open question.

most of what you'd consider really high throughput from lte systems comes a the expense of spectrum that is shared with a a lot of other devices so don't think for a second you're going to get 170Mb/s down and 80Mb/s up.

While WiMAX is often poopoo'd by the WISP community (for good reason,
IMO), it often finds its niche in the federal and muni space,
particularly when video is involved.

Wi-Fi is indeed cheaper on the unlicensed bands, but as a protocol
that determines who speaks and how much they speak, Wi-Fi is very
loosey goosey (CSMA/CA, or "listen before talk"). This sort of
protocol works great when there are tons of laptops and you don't
really care who gets priority (unless they're video, and their traffic
is tagged WMM QoS or something).

But when networks are really *really* REALLY important, you want much
tighter traffic engineering options (and are willing to pay a premium
to do it). For these sorts of networks, quality of link is more
important than quantity of throughput (which is highly variable in
unlicensed Wi-Fi networks).

Others thoughts on this?