Forgive the bad pun, but there was considerable buzz this week over negative comments Garth Freeman, CEO of Australia's Buzz Broadband, made last week at a pro-WiMAX conference in Bangkok. The company, which launched Australia's first WiMAX network, announced the 802.16d network, which operates at the 3.4 GHz band, has closed down its network. Freeman called WiMAX a "miserable failure." He said the technology was rife with bugs that made it unacceptable for use with VoIP and other Internet apps. Specifically jitter and latency rates as high as 1MS, and "non-existent" line of sight performance beyond 1.8 miles. Add poor indoor performance outside a quarter mile, and WiMAX-supported VoIP installations begin to look a little pie-in-the sky.
Freeman went on to lambaste the "opportunistic hype" surrounding WiMAX, concluding with a warning to the gathering that "WiMAX may not work." A year ago, just months after launching WiMAX, Freeman said Buzz had signed 10 percent of its target WiMAX market, using VoIP value as a come on.
Buzz's vendor, Airspan, shot back this week, blaming the problems on Buzz's decision to go with cheap equipment and under provision the network.
"We know that there were significant under-provisioning issues in the core network which connected the Airspan equipment to the internet," Declan Byrne, Airspan's chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "Very early in the relationship, Airspan technical services determined that Buzz's backhaul network was considerably under-dimensioned (again to save cost) and lacked sufficient QoS, and that these factors were the direct cause of VoIP quality issues in the network."