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Eslambolchi: WiMax Booming

LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- WiMax is in, according to AT&T Corp.'s (NYSE: T) biggest brain.

Hossein Eslambolchi, AT&T's CTO and president of AT&T Research Labs, says that he sees WiMax technology developing into a dominant next-generation access technology, given its scale, reach, and potential as a global standard.

Speaking here at Interop in a keynote address and at a dinner with the press, Eslambolchi covered many of his favorite topics, which in the past have included the growth of sensor technology and the notion that "IP will eat everything." (See Eslambolchi's Top Ten .)

Among the newer themes is access technology -- and WiMax in particular, which Eslambolchi says is gaining momentum.

"WiMax is the next-generation access technology," he said here on Tuesday. "I believe 802.16 is going to be the first global standard in that space. In fact it's already a global standard. GSM is just not a global standard because it is competing with CDMA. "

Eslambolchi sees low cost driving WiMax to reach critical mass: "WiMax is going to end up being one-third of the cost of GSM."

WiMax is a metropolitan area standard based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)'s 802.16 specification. Initial fixed-wireless products based on the specification are expected to hit the market at the end of this year or the beginning of 2006. Mobility products that allow WiMax users to roam between base stations at driving speeds without dropping the radio connection should follow, probably in 2007.

— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading

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