WiMAX will Thrive Outside the USA and Europe

Author: Andrew Froehlich
Published: August 06, 2010 at 9:18 am


The debate over 4G technologies has been going on for years. In the US, and much of Europe, it would seem that Long Term Evolution (LTE) has the upper hand and will likely be popular in that part of the world. In the United States, Clearwire has a large WiMAX network covering 69 markets.

However, just this week, the company began testing LTE signals. The company will likely make a shift in the next few years from WiMAX to LTE because this is the technology that the other wireless carriers are likely to adopt. Another seemingly large blow to WiMAX was when Cisco recently reported that they will be exiting the WiMAX market they entered back in 2007 with the acquisition of Navini Networks.

So this signals the death of WiMAX, right? Wrong.

First, let's look at Cisco's bowing out of the WiMAX radio, antenna and base station market. While this may seem like a big deal, Cisco never really was a big player in this market that has been and still is dominated by Cellular tower manufacturers such as Motorola and Qualcom.

It is my belief that Cisco made a half-hearted attempt to enter the market for the purpose of helping to kick-start the 4G revolution. Cisco wanted to get their foot in the door to begin conversations with wireless service providers such as Clearwire so they could sell not only WiMAX gear, but also routers and switches.

A brand new core network was required for Clearwire's rollout, which is Cisco's bread and butter. As it turned out, Cisco was so successful in it's pursuit that the WiMAX bait-and-switch tactic was no longer needed.

Now let's look at why LTE will be a more popular option in more developed countries such as the United States. Strictly from a technology standpoint, both WiMAX and LTE offer similar performance statistics both now and for the foreseeable future.

The real selling point that makes LTE more attractive in developed countries is that LTE is a simple "rip and replace" of a few existing 3G network components. These components can be quickly and fairly seamlessly upgraded with LTE components.

Continued on the next page

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Article Author: Andrew Froehlich

Andrew Froehlich is the President of West Gate Networks, a network and IT consulting firm based in Colorado. He has over 12 years of technology experience with 10 of those years focused on network, security and IP voice solutions. …

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