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Cisco's WiMax Ambitions

It is always nice to have people talking about something you wrote. My Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) WiMax story last week got plenty of play in the press and with bloggers around the world. (See Cisco Wooing WiMax Vendors?) Cool!

But I don't quite agree with some of the suggestions that Cisco could walk in and take the WiMax market the way it did 802.11 enterprise WiFi through the acquisition of Aironet and later Airespace.

I'm not sure it will be that easy, although naturally I wouldn't bet against Cisco dominating eventually. The company won't be battling against startups and older companies it had already decimated in the wireline corporate stakes. Cisco will be taking on Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Nortel Networks Ltd. , Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Samsung Corp. , all of which have WiMax strategies in place.

It's no cakewalk going against deep-pocketed players such as Nokia and Samsung.

Nonetheless, Cisco, like Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), does need to get its wireless broadband strategy in shape. WiMax is one of the stepping stones to 4G even if it doesn't end up as the eventual standard, and Cisco needs to get ready for some of that action.

We could also see the integration of everything (so-called fixed/mobile convergence) as one of the drivers for established companies to get deeper into WiMax. Lots of operators and vendors, including Cisco, are talking about unified networks that hook together wired and wireless networks.

It will take years and give lots of CTOs and engineers sleepless nights, but if everything is really going to get integrated into a single entity, well, you can bet there will be lots of large sweet contracts that get handed out to make it happen.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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