802.16e standard ratified

Le jour de gloire est arrivé! The IEEE has ratified the 802.16e standard, also called mobile WiMax. Roger Marks, chair of the 802.16 working group, posted news of the ratification on the 802.16e working group Web site. The ratification will allow vendors to build equipment which is interoperable with gear from other vendors. Interoperability may begin with ratification, but it does not end there. "The standard being ratified is one thing, and the WiMax Forum having tested conforming products is another," Gartner's Ian Keene told Nancy Gohring.

He said certified 802.16e products would likely become available near the end of 2006. Operators will then have to build the networks so customers may take advantage of the service. After a little delay, the WiMax Forum has begun testing products for compliance with 802.16d, the fixed version of WiMax, but so far no products have been officially certified. As we note in Today's Spotlight, the intriguing thing to watch for is mobile WiMax's evolution from basic mobility to full mobility. Full mobility means more daunting technical challenges, but also much greater market potential and a more direct challenge to 3G.

For more on 802.16 ratification:
- see Roger Marks' "Dear 802.16 Friends and Family" note
- Nancy Gohring's PCWorld report

PLUS: See this thoughtful analysis by Caroline Gabriel on the evolution path for fixed WiMax now that the mobile standard has been ratified. Analysis

ALSO: In-Stat reported that competing technologies, such as 3G technologies on the cellular side (EV-DO Release 0, A, and B; HSDPA) and WiFi (coupled with wireless mesh networking and MIMO enhancements within 802.11n) on the networking side, are creating uncertainties for the WiMax chipset market. Sales could reach as high as $950 million in 2009, but under a more conservative scenario they may only reach $450 million, In-Stat's Gemma Tedesco said. Release