Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field

It may not be long before the "d" in 802.16d stands for "defunct." More and more WiMax companies acknowledge that 802.16e -- the standard often called "mobile WiMax" -- is in demand for fixed deployments, too.

"We think the basic technology for WiMax will be 802.16e," says Tzvika Friedman, president and CEO of Alvarion Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR), a WiMax pioneer and early proponent of 802.16d. "We plan to come out with 'e-ready' systems by the end of the year," Friedman says. A quick primer: WiMax comes in two basic flavors -- one designed for fixed wireless and one for mobile. The fixed version, with the catchy name of 802.16d-2004, was designed to be a replacement or supplement for broadband cable access or DSL. A more recently ratified version, 802.16e-2005, allows for roaming among base stations as well. Thus, the two standards are generally known as "fixed WiMax" and "mobile WiMax." But according to many of the hardware makers who attended the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) annual conference in Washington last week, 802.16e is the new fixed WiMax.

"We've been getting lots of RFPs and RFIs (requests for proposals and information) for fixed WiMax," says Byron Young, vice president of marketing at Adaptix Inc. , which also makes WiMax base stations. "They used to say 802.16d. Now they say 802.16e. Some are municipalities. Some are emerging countries. Some are MSOs."

In the fall of this year, Adaptix plans to release base stations that run in both the 2.5GHz and 2.3GHz ranges, meaning they can operate in the bands used in the United States.

"If you want to get in front of a tier one mobile carrier, you better have your product in front of them this year," Young says.

Next year Adaptix plans to release a WiMax picocell base station, for use in small coverage areas such as the inside of a building.

Fellow base station maker Aperto Networks Inc. is moving toward 802.16e, as well. "We'll follow the Rosedale 2 roadmap," says Mike Pratt, president and CEO of Aperto, referring to Intel's plans for a client chipset that supports both 802.16d and 802.16e, which is due to ship by the fall of this year. (See Intel Wows With Dualmode WiMax.)

So, who has plans for all these base stations? Publicly, 802.16e has received an official stamp of approval among emerging markets. (See Motorola Makes WiMax Breakthrough .) Since then, WiMax vendors have reported demand from cable operators, who are generally trying to work wireless services into their portfolios. (See T-Mobile, Cable MSOs May Spend on Spectrum.) Now vendors are receiving inquiries from satellite operators, according to both Alvarion's Tzvika and Aperto's Pratt. Aperto already is in trials with Indonesia's Citra Sari Makmur (CSM), and other satellite companies have voiced interest in WiMax rollouts, Pratt says. (See Aperto Deployment Expanded.) "That does make some sense," says Ken Dulaney, vice president of mobile computing at Gartner Inc. "Even though they are satellite, they must be considered wireline operators because they don’t have wireless on the ground. So WiMax is a distribution mechanism for them."

Meanwhile, the development of mobile devices that support 802.16e should help boost its adoption as an actual mobile standard. One problem is that WiMax chipsets tend to be power-hungry for small devices, but component manufacturers are working on that.

"We are taping out in mid-July an 802.16e radio --- 180 milliwats as opposed to 4- or 500 milliwatts," says Charles Harper, chairman and co-founder of Sierra Monolithics Inc. , which makes WiMax transceivers. Samples of the lower-power radio should be available by October of this year, Harper says.

— Carmen Nobel, Senior Editor, Light Reading

free_radio 12/5/2012 | 3:49:44 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060705...

With $600 million from Intel and another sweet $300 million from others, WiMax (mobile+fixed) is challenging the Cellular world (UMTS + CDMA2000).

I think if Intel can do one more step - which is to partner and sleep together with the UMTS GSM people, then cutting off the air supply of Qualcomm CDMA2000 is in place.

oh, by the way, please do not include the WiFi Mesh talk on this discussion ... Mesh is just an accessory vehicle, not the primary vehicle. WiMax can use the Mesh concept when it is logical such as emergency, short-term temporary networks.
meshsecurity 12/5/2012 | 3:49:44 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field True, I see your point. But, I still think you should be doing more.

freetoair 12/5/2012 | 3:49:42 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field What is your point?
Perhaps this is just another doomed Intel strategy that should be looked at a bit closer in their restructuring plan? WiMAX as a microwave e1/t1 solution is filling in the existing niche market which is not dramatically growing.
As for mobile broadband there is no compelling differentiator. the datarate is not dramatically better, the coverage especially at the spectrum available is worse, the networks are not built (as they are with 3G/UMTS), voice solution is not addressed (primary mobile app), the terminals are not in volume, the battery/heat issues with the terminals is worse than 3G/UMTS. OFDMA is good but an incremental step that is being cooped by QCOM and 3G LTE, etc.

Intel is shooting blanks. more a PR campaign at this time than a high growth, revenue generating business.

Clearwire IPO offering was sure to fall flat so it really was a non-starter anyway.
free_radio 12/5/2012 | 3:49:41 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field Good point, I do understand that WiMax at its current state won't be able to challenge the Cellular.

In my own personal opinion, Intel is going in the different direction that the QCOM' approach. Intel is building it up from the personal computer platform while QCOM and/or Cellular UMTS is continuing their monopoly from the handset platform. I believe there is more upside from the personal computer compare to the handset since in the near future, there is a need to pack more display viewing and power-hungry systems. We can shrink the PC platform (like for example, a cool tablet PC) and it's still viewable than shrinking the handset platform.

Plus WiMax is based on the standard consortium, the future brainchild of 4G, just like the UMTS GSM compare to the QCOM CDMA monopoly full of patents license royalty for every single implementations. No wonder TI, BRCM, Nokia and the rest of UMTS people are suing QCOM for the unfair monopoly price. Did you know that QCOM lost $11 Billion caps last week?? You should check your portfolio pretty soon and start to diversify.

If Intel can make the WiMax+WiFi chipsets so cheap and can be embedded as standard just like the Ethernet ports on the PC platform, why not use it with the available WiMax spectrum services provided by Clearwire and the WiMax Base Stations provided by the likes of Motorola.

I challenge QCOM to provide the free and cheap CDMA2000 chips for free on all of their handsets. Oops, I forgot that Irwin Jacobs and the gangs need to collect the royalty patents' money again. Gotta work hard so we can give the cash to QCOM pretty soon, otherwise we'll get sue on the court instantly.
boracho 12/5/2012 | 3:48:16 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field I agree with you that cellular (including QCOM) has nothing to fear from mobile WiMAX unless someone comes with a radical solution to lower the cost of the system (increase BS range-performance, lower cost of CPE, etc.) and/or increase performance, pretty soon before market momentum evaporates. Another problem with WiMAX is frequency spectrum utilization, unless someone figures out how to clear up this mess then good luck to the WiMAX vendors. No vendor wants to design and build a custom decvice for each regional market. The 3.5 GHz band used in early WiMAX profiles doesn't seem to be in high demand in key regions.

I also think that fixed WiMAX is not dead. I still see a lot of demand for fixed wireless equipements. So far the available equipements in the market have failed to deliver a real advantage over existing solutions in residential access and especially in backhaul where demand is growing. The biggest problems, cited by end users, with current WiMAX equipements are cost and performance. WiMAX vendors seems to be trying to catch-up with Intel rambitious marketing campaign then design and market real equipements that show clear benefits. I think Intel is doing a clear disfavour to the WiMAX market by promissing this ridiculous chipsets that support all-you-want wireless protocols in a single package. What frequency bands will this operate in? 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 5 GHz, ... or all the above!

Sure QCOM is charging a lot of royalties but that's a fact of life in the hi-tech industry, isn't it? How about this WiLan trying to go after the OFDM crowd, especially now they got rid of all of this nonsense OFDM equipment manufacturing to focus on patent litigation. I don't particulary like QCOM but I am a realistic person and without a strong solution that delivers a clear advantage then we might be stuck with them for a little while longer.
free_radio 12/5/2012 | 3:47:37 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field The cellular stronghold (3G UMTS and CDMA2000) in mobile communications is still strong and will continue for a foreseeable future.

WiMax should challenge cellular in the price per deployment advantage because in terms of technology solution wise, WiMAX is equally comparable to cellular. Basically you are offering more bits for cheaper or equal price to 3G. And this can only be done through the economies of scale, where Intel the manufacturing prowess powerhouse can distribute millions and Billions of the WiMAX chipsets at an affordable price point.

In anycase, 3G won't be the monopoly solution to the mobile communications because of WiMAX disruptive attack. So the cellular sector can not charge the exorbitant price anymore. And that will benefit to the customers.

QCOM is playing the monopoly hands here in terms of charging the patent' fee. On the left hand, they can make the chipsets and sell it to the cellular phone maker (such as Samsung, LG) while on the right hand, QCOM is charging an unfair patent' fee to the rest of chipset makers (such as TI, BRCM). Decide what you want to do, become a patents' holder company and collecting the fee or apply the equal price point for the chipsets company ... but not both to eat all the cakes.

I'm afraid you guys are pissing off many of us here and they could turn their backs on you to create the cartel with GSM in order to choke off your superior CDMA technology. Do you remember the playback of VHS and Betamax story? Why Betamax technology is dead even though it's essentially a much better technology than VHS. Because Betamax is an arrogant SOB.
techgnochhi 12/5/2012 | 3:47:23 AM
re: Mobile WiMax Takes Fixed Field oh, the quality name calling (SOB) in the valiant X vs. CDMA fight! What a classic.

Get on with it and please stop the endless and boring world vs. QCOM tirades.

I don't work for QC, but if you have any clue, please explain what, with globally non-unified frequencies and most spectrum in the very ineffiecent 2+GHz spectrum, will be so disruptive about WiMax. As an earlier poster points out, will you have you have multi-freq support in every single laptop, from 700MHz to 3.5 GHz. The RF front end alone will add $100 to the PC. Furthermore, with the deployment dynamics of those frequencies, the incumbents with built-out networks will again have the advantage.

Now add to this the fact that by the time WiMax hits any maturity level, QCOM and the 3GSM crowd will both have solid proposals in their respective standards bodies to evolve to OFDM-based air interfaces and you quickly erode the "someday" disruptive power of WiMax.

Don't get me wrong, it's a tight race, esp if someone like Sprint were to chose WiMax for their 2.5G properties.

But for heaven's sake, stop the yammering about CDMA's monopoly.
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