WiMax & LTE: Kissin' Cousins

4:50 PM -- Hopping 'round the Web, reading the back-and-forth on LTE versus WiMax, I'm often shocked and/or amused by the fervor with which each side defends its preferred technology.

Well, you know what? Save yourself the stress, it's just not worth it yet.

We know that the underlying radio technology for both is very similar, for starters. So similar, in fact, that when I went on an LTE drive with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) in April in Vegas, they had simply swapped the software and made a couple of tweaks to convert WiMax basestations into LTE boxes. Swapping between the two technologies would be relatively painless -- compared to a 3G upgrade -- for both carriers and users. The only limiting factor would be the frequencies available for each carrier and the type of modulation that could be used for each technology (more on that in a later piece).

So which is best? From where I sit in rainy Brooklyn, N.Y., I cannot subscribe to any mobile WiMax or LTE service now. I suspect the same is true for the vast majority of you, too. So, neither is the "best" for me now. I'm only willing to declare one technology the king once I can get a good fast reliable connection that's better than 3G in my home and the major cities to which I travel. That isn't going to happen this year and probably not in 2010 and beyond.

Frankly, anyone that declares either technology a winner now is pretty foolhardy anyway. It suggests they didn't witness -- or have forgotten -- the rampant over-promising that attended the birth of 3G at the turn of the century. There was a wide gap between the marketing and the reality of the early 3G networks, arguably still is at times. Do you really think the same won't happen with so-called 4G networks?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

Be the first to post a comment regarding this story.
Sign In