Friday, December 09, 2005

Can WiMAX live up to the hype?
By Staff, Electronic News (US)
7 December 2005

US-based iSuppli’s market research firm’s recent report on WiMAX noted over the last few years, the wireless technology has been hyped as the broadband wireless technology of the future. WiMAX is said to provide a single solution for a variety of applications, including last-kilometre fixed broadband access, wireless backhaul for mobile phone sites and as an upgrade to Wi-Fi hot spots.

However, according to iSuppli, the 802.16-based WiMAX standard will primarily be limited to serving niche market applications in the immediate future. In each of the market segments being targeted by WiMAX, there are competing wireline and/or wireless technologies, the market researcher noted. To gain adoption, WiMAX will either have to displace a competing technology or provide a supplementary application.

Because of this, in the short term, it will be extremely difficult for WiMAX to gain widespread penetration into the fixed and portable wireless broadband markets in developed nations.

By 2010, less than 5 percent of broadband subscribers will use WiMAX as a fixed wireless broadband access technology, according to the market researcher’s projection. “With WiMAX facing tough competition from entrenched competitors, its usage over the next few years will be limited to broadband access in rural and underserved areas of the developed nations and as a backhaul technology for mobile sites and public Wi-Fi hot spots,” says Jagdish Rebello, a principal iSuppli analyst for communication systems and components.

In the portable broadband access market, WiMAX’s most potent competitor will be Wi-Fi, iSuppli said. Wi-Fi will remain the dominant short-range wireless broadband standard over the next few years, effectively freezing out WiMAX, it suggested.

In the longer term, iSuppli believes that the most significant market for WiMAX will be for mobile broadband, for example, vehicular access to broadband services.

However, in some areas the bet that Intel placed on WiMAX is beginning to show signs of paying off.

Thirteen carriers from around the globe are now deploying the world’s first fixed WiMAX networks to deliver high-speed broadband wireless access to businesses and residences based on Intel’s technologies. And 11 more carriers are preparing to deploy WiMAX networks by the end of this year.

• The aviation industry’s dream of flying pilotless cargo planes may be grounded by a lack of radio frequencies to control the aircraft.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry is lobbying regulators to let military UAVs use civilian airspace and airports, to pave the way for cargo airlines to operate cheap, crewless flights, reports NewScientist magazine.

Ohn Mettrop, spectrum policy chief at the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, told a Royal Aeronautical Society conference that UAV makers have overlooked the high demand of UAVs for radio links for things like remote control and air traffic control.

The UAV industry must wait for the World Radiocommunication Conferences in 2007 and 2010 to claim the necessary frequencies. But it will face tough competition from emerging communications services such as WiMAX wireless broadband.

Source here

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