WiMAX gets serious, wins carrier(s) over

The 2006 year in WiMAX had three major highlights: The first WiMAX product certifications, the massive investment in Clearwire and Sprint's announcement to build its "4G" network using WiMAX technology. Hands down. When a major U.S. carrier stands up and says they plan to invest billions of dollars into a networking technology, it certainly legitimizes it. And you have to listen. Sprint did just that and the industry tuned in, accordingly.

Tier 1 vendors like Nortel and others also entered the WiMAX space more seriously this year. Last year the pioneering start-ups and wireless incumbents from the proprietary side commanded the WiMAX sector.

Perhaps the greatest WiMAX watershed moment, however, was Qualcomm's admission that it would support a WiMAX rollout by building chipsets, and the company also pointed out that it holds IP that most WiMAX network build outs would require. This from the same company that once penned a white paper called "Why Max?"