Mobile WiMAX Standard Approved

Updated: IEEE standards body has approved the 802.16e standard and with that, what is commonly known as Wireless MAN or WiMAX has gone mobile. (More information here.) Obviously, I need to spend sometime reading the final draft, and get my head wrapped around this complex issue.

Initial thoughts: With that, the easy part is done, and now companies have to get onboard with the concept, start developing silicon and equipment. But more than that, money has to be found, to essentially (and eventually) replicate the cellular mobile infrastructure. It is going to be a very costly and long drawn out process. It might be easy to get caught in the euphoria surrounding the news, but we all need to take a deep breath and get prepared for a long haul. More on this later…

Motorola and Navini Networks are being supremely aggressive about the mobile WiMAX and are betting big on the technology. 802.16e doesn’t seem to be compatible with 802.16d, there are some chip vendors like PicoChip, who are working on addressing the issue. Jesse reminds me that

802.16e is backwards compataible with 16d, but there is no simple upgrade path for 16d base-stations to 16e base-stations. So, if you deploy 16d now, you will spend a lot of money if you want to upgrade to 16e. If you deploy the first available 16e base-stations, they will work with peoples 16d modems.

“There are growing concerns if service providers need to immediately roll out a fixed 802.16d network or wait for the fixed/portable 802.16e standard,” says Luke Thomas, Senior Research Analyst at Frost and Sullivan. Many beleive that in the near term, fixed wireless/WiMAX (802.16d) will be used for back-hauling to WiFi hot-spots.

Reader Micky Jagirdar thinks that 802.16e might get deployed sooner than we think.

I think many people have already prepared for the mobile standard, US 2.3-2.5Ghz spectrum has to be used by 2007, if you are planning to do that you must have the network rolling as soon as possible as there are minimum subscriber levels you need to have before the spectrum that was given to the company will have to be RETURNED! They will push equipment manufacturers to crank this out ASAP. There are certain manufacturers whose base stations have a software upgradeable profile, they will be quicker to meet the needs than most people give them credit for.

(Hat Tip, Micky!)