Trend: Questions about viability of fixed WiMax persist

Where is WiMax heading? This was the question at the recent WiMax World conference in Boston. There were two points of tension which were articulated in different ways by many of the speakers. The first market in which WiMax has made inroads is the fixed wireless market, but most of the large carriers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of mobile WiMax. The choice between fixed and mobile is important, since transition between the two will be difficult because of the incompatibility of platforms each uses.

The second point of tension has to do with the capabilities of the first generation of 802.16e. The first generation will not support high-speed mobility and hand-offs and may be better positioned as a WiFi-plus system supporting laptop or smartphone-based portability alongside fixed access. The key questions explicitly or implicitly addressed at the conference were what the size of the fixed WiMax market would be in light of the promise held by mobile WiMax, and whether mobile WiMax would have to achieve cellular levels of mobility in order to keep the interest of large operators and investors.

For more on the state of WiMax:
- see this Wireless Watch analysis

ALSO: Aperto, Axxcelera, Redline, Sequans and Wavesat offered a live interoperability demonstration between the companies' TDD-based WiMax base stations and customer premise equipment. Release