Trend: Realistic assessment of WiMax

We have long argued on these pages that, for some reason, it has become de rigeur among commentators to attach the adjective 'over-hyped' to WiMax. It was as if dismissing the technology's promise would give any no-name analyst an instant air of sophistication and urbanity. The proper response to these self-satisfied analysts is and has always been: balderdash. We are glad to see support for this view from the sober Philip Solis of ABI Research. The latest WiMax study by the research group offers a realistic assessment of WiMax performance and its role. According to Solis, "Those who made extravagant performance claims were just trying to get the wheels of the WiMax bandwagon moving. Today, most commentators have no problem admitting that real-world speeds, depending as they do on the number of users per base station sector and their distance from the base-station, will be far slower than media reports had previously suggested."

Given this new sense of realism, some may question the need for WiMax--certainly for 802.16e. Solis' response: "Mobile WiMax will eventually form part of cellular providers' networks, alleviating network congestion in urban areas. Providers will use it to offload part of the data traffic. At the same time, WiMax is becoming a stepping-stone to 4G mobile services, which will be based on related technologies."

For more on ABI's latest WiMax study:
- see this press release

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