Wi-Fi

Sanity check: Will WiMAX be a 3G killer, or is it vice versa?

The broad deployment of IP-based WiMAX networks for mobile Internet access could open the door for wireless VoIP phones and usurp cellular carriers. However, the cellular giants are ramping up 3G for mobile Internet to try to beat WiMAX to the punch. This week's Tech Sanity Check sorts out the upcoming fight and predicts the results.

Fierce competition can bring out the best and the worst in businesses, and it also makes for great theater. In the technology world over the past three decades, we have watched commercial empires rise and fall with amazing swiftness and drama. New competitors have arisen out of nowhere and trumped established dynasties in a matter of years, as Microsoft did to outmaneuver IBM in the personal computer business, as Linux did to marginalize Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics in the UNIX server market, and as Google did to race past Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft in Internet search.

Now there's a new technology peeking over the horizon that could cause a major shake-up in the tech industry: WiMAX, which I wrote about last week in my article "Sanity check: Is WiMAX almost here and will it unlock the next stage of the Internet?" WiMAX has the potential to create new markets, change the scope of the Internet, revolutionize the mobile phone landscape, and upend empires.

However, although WiMAX now has a large stable of blue blood supporters in the tech industry -- led by Intel and joined by Motorola, Samsung, and Sprint -- and a huge cash investment from them, it also has a healthy share of doubters. Those naysayers believe that it will be a multibillion dollar flop, and that by the time it's deployed widely enough to make a mass market challenge, the world's existing cellular carriers will have already beat it to the punch with a fully deployed version of 3G wireless.

The WiMAX vs. 3G cellular showdown is poised to become one of the next great market battles in the tech industry. Fortunes will be made and lost in this battle, and the user experience of the Internet will be irreversibly changed (hopefully, for the better) in the process.

The WiMAX advantages

Conceptually, WiMAX has been designed as an Internet access technology and not as a replacement to the existing cellular networks that have gained global scale during the past decade. But since WiMAX is built around IP and has been designed from the ground up to support strong QoS and security, WiMAX provides an excellent platform to run VoIP.

As a result, it is natural to associate WiMAX with VoIP, which is rapidly replacing many wire-based phone lines because it makes much more efficient use of the bandwidth and lines and opens up voice to a whole new range of applications.

That's why WiMAX is sometimes viewed as the technology that will make the current cellular networks obsolete. It's actually VoIP that is the disruptor. WiMAX -- once it's fully deployed -- will simply provide the roaming global Internet access that will bring VoIP to the same corners of the earth that cellular towers have covered today, and WiMAX could spread that coverage even farther.

Initially, WiMAX was compared more to Wi-Fi -- except with much longer range -- than it was to cellular networks. WiMAX providers are essentially ISPs that provide either Fixed WiMAX or a combination of both Mobile WiMAX (for roaming users) and Fixed WiMAX (for home or small business access, very similar to cable or DSL).

There are several important factors that distinguish WiMAX from other wireless technologies and make it a platform that so many tech heavyweights have been willing to support:

  • IP-based network -- Since WiMAX is built on IP, it natively runs existing IP-based products, services, and utilities. VoIP is one example. This also enables much easier and cheaper network monitoring and management with standard tools.
  • A flatter, simpler topology -- Because it has been designed as a data network from the ground up, WiMAX has a much simpler network topology than cellular networks, which have had to add extra layers and invent new tricks to enable their technology to handle data. WiMAX takes less equipment and less time to set up than traditional cellular infrastructure or wide-scale Wi-Fi. Figure A provides a quick look at the WiMAX topology.
  • Lower CAPEX and OPEX -- As a simpler architecture that uses less network equipment, WiMAX takes lower capital expenditures (CAPEX) to build networks and lower operating expenditures (OPEX) to maintain them. Naturally, this can result in lower service costs for end users. But just as critical is the fact that this enables WiMAX to scale very low for small installations and to quickly scale higher to meet large growth on demand.
  • Low-cost interface chips -- Chipset leader Intel and chipmakers such as Sequens and Beceem have always thought of WiMAX as a mass market technology and so have architected WiMAX chip solutions aimed at large production and low cost. This has resulted in inexpensive network interface devices such as WiMAX modems and PC cards, but more important, it will make it easier for computer and consumer electronics makers to soon embed WiMAX chips into a lot of different kinds of devices.
Figure A: WiMAX topology (click image to expand)

Source: Navini Networks

The 3G alternative

No company has been a more outspoken critic of WiMAX than Ericsson, especially in 2007. That may seem strange since Ericsson is not a cellular carrier, but the company is a major seller and developer of cellular infrastructure, and an important supplier of cellular handsets through its Sony Ericsson partnership.

Ericsson has played a critical role in the development of cellular data networks, including various 3G platforms, GSM, WCDMA, HSPA, and the technology that it thinks will ultimately trump WiMAX: LTE (Long-Term Evolution) wireless. Ironically, LTE is almost more similar to WiMAX than it is to existing cellular technologies and it will require an investment (and technological transformation) on the same scale as WiMAX.

Initially, Ericsson was a member of the WiMAX Forum and a lukewarm supporter of WiMAX technology as part of the future evolution of cellular networks. But this spring, Ericsson announced its decision to close down its WiMAX development projects and shift all of its focus to LTE. Since then, Ericsson has been actively touting the fact that its current HSPA-based networks will already have comparable performance to WiMAX when WiMAX launches on a large scale in 2008. The primary reasons that Ericsson thinks it can get away with HSPA are:

  • Bandwidth -- In cooperation with carriers in its home country of Sweden, Ericsson has already deployed an HSPA-based network with mobile broadband speeds of 3.6 Mbps downlink and 1 Mbps uplink. A software upgrade that is currently in progress will double that bandwidth to 7.2 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up, and the network itself will eventually have the capacity for 14.4 Mbps downloads. WiMAX will have the capacity for about 10 Mbps. However, the usable speed for mobile broadband is expected to be about 2 Mbps. An Ericsson representative who lives in Sweden told me that he currently gets an average of 2 Mbps on the HSPA network in Sweden, and said that it is so reliable that he often stays on that network, rather than switching over to Wi-Fi, when he is working on his laptop at home. Ericsson views this type of experience as indicative of what current cellular networks will do in the near future.
  • Existing infrastructure -- It took a decade to build out the current global wireless infrastructure. The cellular carriers doubt that WiMAX will be able to duplicate the breadth of this network within a few years. As such, they believe that it makes more sense to simply upgrade the current infrastructure.
  • Existing relationships -- Cellular carriers can leverage existing relationships with customers and business partners to make it easier to transition users to mobile broadband. That will be much less expensive than WiMAX's task of marketing a new product and explaining what it is, what it replaces, and how it will help the user.
  • Cellular IP -- Ericsson is advising cellular carriers to transform their existing infrastructure into IP-based networks using Softswitch and the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). If cellular can turn its networks into IP networks, it could pre-empt the threat from VoIP.
  • Fixed wireless -- With its current cellular infrastructure, Ericsson wants to provide the same kind of fixed services that WiMAX is touting for spreading broadband Internet to lots of new places. With a widely deployed network and new fixed broadband modems to access it, this is an easy play for cellular carriers. It's already starting to happen in many places, including Sweden.

While Ericsson may be the most vocal detractor of WiMAX, it isn't alone. Verizon Wireless has also opted to sit out WiMAX and put its efforts into expanding 3G and developing LTE. Mobile chip maker Qualcomm has also balked at building WiMAX technologies and focused instead on further developing 3G cellular chips.

Sprint, which will become the world's largest provider of WiMAX services with its major deployments in 2008, even has some internal detractors of its WiMAX strategy. Reports surfaced last week that investors and board members at Sprint have lost confidence in CEO Gary Forsee. They are unhappy that Sprint has not expanded its cellular business as quickly as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, but primarily they have grown impatient waiting for the huge investment in WiMAX to payoff, and some of them may even be losing faith about how much of a competitive advantage it will give Sprint.

So we have Intel, Samsung, and Sprint on the one side betting heavily on the success of WiMAX, and we have Ericsson, Verizon Wireless, and Qualcomm on the other side betting heavily against it. Even in a converged marketplace that will likely have a place for both WiMAX and 3G in the short term, there will be big winners and big losers in this battle. And even the neutral players that are playing both sides, such as AT&T, Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nortel, will be affected as well.

Sanity check

Figure B provides a nice comparison of cellular (3G) and WiMAX and includes Wi-Fi in the mix as well. The graph shows that the current strengths of cellular include coverage, mobility, and QoS (voice quality), but it is also expensive for data, and the performance speeds are not great in most places. Wi-Fi has great performance and is relatively inexpensive (for small, localized deployments), but it's not very mobile, has inconsistent coverage, and has voice quality issues. WiMAX does not have the top marks in any of these five categories, but it does at least have solid capabilities in all five. Figure B: Comparing WiMAX, WLAN, and cellular

Source: Intel and Rethink Research Associates

Ultimately, it's still too early to predict the winners here. Nevertheless, I think there are three important factors to watch in determining who wins and why:

1. Encryption modules vs. SIM cards

Starting next year, WiMAX networking chips are going to be inexpensively embedded into tons of new laptop computers, phones, and consumer electronic devices. Cellular technologies such as HSPA simply will not be able to match that scale for one simple reason: SIM cards (Subscriber Identity Modules). Devices that connect to the cellular network must have a physical SIM card. The combination of cellular network chips and SIM cards is more expensive than the WiMAX chips and not as easy to deploy and manage.

In place of SIM cards, WiMAX uses software encryption modules that are much more configurable, flexible, and scalable. If WiMAX starts to catch on in lots of different consumer electronic devices, this will be a win for WiMAX and a strike against 3G. Of course, 3G could switch out SIM cards for a software solution, but that would likely take years to show up in the market. The other strategic option for cellular carriers could be to focus on the phone as the mobile broadband connection hub and use Bluetooth or Wireless USB for last-mile connectivity to consumer electronic devices.

2. True performance

While 3G cellular advocates such as Ericsson talk about and demonstrate HSPA bandwidth speeds that are equivalent to WiMAX, that doesn't necessarily mean that the performance is the same. Because WiMAX is IP-based at the core and has a much simpler network topology, it should have better spectral efficiency and lower latency than cell networks. Spectral efficiency is the amount of data that can be transmitted over a certain amount of bandwidth. In essence, spectral efficiency is the true performance of a network link.

The other performance issue to watch is scale. WiMAX advocates claim that the current cellular networks simply would not be able to support wide-scale mobile broadband Internet traffic. They claim that it is a wireless spectrum issue. WiMAX will have a lot more wireless spectrum to occupy, which is the equivalent of a much fatter pipe. While these factors appear to favor WiMAX, it's important to realize that WiMAX still has not been put to the test on a large scale, while cellular providers have been managing high volume wireless connections on the their current networks for over a decade, and that gives them a major advantage in experience.

3. Customer perception and demand

Cellular carriers will have a much lower bar to hurdle in convincing customers that next-generation wireless services will bring the same kind of broadband experience that they have at home to their mobile phone, and by extension to their laptop and any other devices that can connect to their mobile phone via Bluetooth. Many mobile users are already using Bluetooth devices and are using their phones for messaging and basic Internet services, such as checking the weather plus a few favorite Web sites that have mobile editions. In this scenario, the 3G-powered cell phone essentially becomes a mobile equivalent of a DSL or cable modem.

The alternative scenario in which WiMAX could trump 3G would be if WiMAX becomes the equivalent of the next generation of Internet access in the minds of consumers, in the same way that cable/DSL were in relation to dial-up. That could happen if WiMAX pulls off a well-orchestrated combination of mobile and fixed WiMAX, in which a user has one high-speed Internet connection (10 Mbps) at home or the office using a fixed modem and can then roam with mobile Internet (2 Mbps) while away from home with a laptop, phone, and/or other mobile devices -- all for about the same price they are currently paying for stationary broadband. That would be a revolutionary experience.

The other big mobile Internet battleground for 3G and WiMAX will be with mobile business users. Sprint has an established business unit dedicated to enterprises and will certainly exploit that to offer Mobile WiMAX. However, other cellular carriers also have established relationships and have more mature, more widespread networks to offer. Since enterprise are allergic to new and unproven technologies, 3G has a good opportunity to hold on to that business in the short term. WiMAX will probably have its best luck with small businesses, entrepreneurs, and independent consultants.

Your take

What's your opinion of the WiMAX vs. 3G battle? What are the most important features you would like see in these next generation wireless networks? How will all of this affect your choice of ISPs and mobile carriers in the future? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

117 comments
cyini2000
cyini2000

i run a wimax network in a developing country and i can tell you wimax works! Because it an IP based network, it supports all ip services including SIP based services which i believe is d future of voice. Wimax is well suited for countries with low infrastructure and is opening up new opportunities for WISPs there.

dopmeen
dopmeen

Currently, people are hooked on mobile handsets and laptops. It is easy you can talk over moble phones, while driving at the wheel, but can't easily handle data-related works on mobile handsets and laptops, while driving, even with a voice command enabled. Mobile multimedia, when further evolved, will be more data-intensive in a shift away from a voice-intensive cellular technology. Western Union was the invincible telecom operator, when telegraph was the best telecommmunication tool. But now telegraph is extinct. One thing evident is the mobile technology as a whole is evolving cladogenetically in the direction of mobile multimedia, which already find technological limitations in the screen sizes of mobile handsets, and the issue of battery life and safety related to laptops. If we can harness the vehicle traffic to enable mobile P2P and extend the range of mobile broadband, then we will be able to enjoy dashtop multimedia utilizing both wider touchscreens, enabled with voice tags, and vehicle battery. There has been a media shift or migration from newspapers, radio, TV to Internet, but still they do co-exist, only changing their interdependent roles. The staionary web media works two ways as opposed to traditional media like newspapers, radio and TV, but the mobile multimedia works two ways, and with another dimension of mobility. Mobile handsets and laptops are portable mobile but both work best when stationary, while dashtop mobile equipment works best in both stationary and mobile modes. WiMAX and 3G will co-exist at least for a decade from now without showing which is a real winner or loser, and then there will come a slow but steady process of 'creative destruction', which will eventually determine the survival of the fittest technology.

mwang_56
mwang_56

1)Tech- Advanced vs. Low: WiMAX is SOFDMA, 3G is CDMA 2)BTS Cover- 100 times:WiMAX is 70 Mbit/s over 50 Km, 3G is maybe 3Mb/s over 0.2 Km. PS: HSPA document never talk about top data rate RF cover,because ir is very small, < 100m. It is limited by CDMA tech, no one can improve it! 3)WiMAX vs. 3G, like RW-DVD vs. VHS tape. those company for get more $$$, want sale 3G 1st, then WiMAX So go to WiMAX ASAP is only right way to get ride of 3G

andreas.paule
andreas.paule

I suspect the winner will be decided by the marketing departments! Its always about money. Never about value for the end user. Is it?

CPTSpivak
CPTSpivak

WiMax already has cheaper options than DSL, with mobile and home use. That is, one account can use the mobile card, and/or the home network. Clearwire is the company here in Anchorage. If they keep deploying, they will rule.

patrick.quin
patrick.quin

A few comments about Hiner's *3 Important Factors*: 1. Why is a WIMAX software encryption modules better than a SIM Card? The 3GSM camp would argue that this was (historically) a critical weakness for the CMDA camp. 2. According to Ericsson, the network architecture for mobile WiMAX and cellular is identical, so its hard to see how there will be an improvement in latency. As for spectral efficiency, native IP is totally unsuited for wireless networks - designed for wired networks after all.... 3. Not really clear in the Customer Perception and Demand how the fixed vs mobile bandwidth doesn't apply to 3GSM as well. Maybe this is different in the US.

datsenko
datsenko

Both WiMax and LTE/UMB will have its future However, I believe that Telco???s approach to have everything backwoods compatible with older standards or legacy technology will create extra delays, cost etc in developing LTE. I bet on WiMax - nice, simple (compare to 3G) technology with big possibilities. World is moving forward

peter_mauger
peter_mauger

I'm hopeful for the Optus group plan to introduce widescale WiMax. The main reason is that the only HSPA provider at the moment is Telstra and they have a habit of trying to bleed their customers dry. 3c per kB???! Oh but you get $10 of data included in your plan... but wait, at even 1Mb/s your $10 lasts 1 sec! Not that we get even close to that in terms of data rate. I went OS recently and used my phone for my online banking. $500 later... Even if all the Optus group provides is competition at an affordable price it'll be a fantastic start.

Aspiration Images
Aspiration Images

Telstra already has released Next G mobiles and data cards operating at 7M in Australia supplied by Ericcson and covering over 98% of the population. Wimax is old crap.

alastair
alastair

Mobile operators have a history of trying to keep prices high. This will be their downfall. WiMax will go the way of the ISP's: unlimited use for a fixed cost with no usage restrictions. The mobile operators will continue to control how their mobile internet is used and block the use of Skype, etc. Its easy to choose which one I would want!

hakanopensky
hakanopensky

electronic device manufacturers stance will make or break Wimax

GerwingR
GerwingR

more to come, macro wimax, micro wimax. powered ethernet remote aes,rsa radiators not only on ism band 2.4 but, even better on lisenced 2.6 and gps area user pay lisence.. perhaps patch serial antenna with area local trancievers. putting the system in once properly at costs, saves doing it over and over again. just get your 2.6 card for you laptop and be connected to the master corpo, muni users list with security and performance....cheap execution, = cheap performance that just works, pay for what you get.. even on your monthly..... gerwingr

liujn
liujn

Of cause Verizon,Ericsson&Qualcomm don't like WiMAX. Verizon spent billions in EVDO RevA networks. It is far from making the money back. GSM/UMTS/LTE is Ericsson blood line. It completely dominates GSM/UMTS/LTE markets. Qualcomm lives on every penny collected from CDMA royalty fees. WiMAX has direct impact on all of them. In fact,WiMAX is created to defeat all three. Who will win? Now it is really too early to tell. In three years, we shall able to see a much better picture. WiMAX chip sets for mobile devices are one of the two keys for WiMAX to succeed. VoIP user experience is another key. As of today, none of the 3G technologies are able to handle VoIP QOS functionality reliably. Remember, we are talking about VoIP with mobility. If WiMAX could make it to work reliably, we would see end-user kiss EVDO/UMTS goodbye.

FXEF
FXEF

This was a great informative article, however no one has the one thing that will answer the question that was ask in the title. A crystal ball! Only time will tell, and it may be a long wait for a true winner. I think both WiMax and 3G will co-exist just as DSL and Cable do today. What works for one consumer may not be the best choice for another. I'm not investing in either WiMax or 3G technology. My money is on crystal ball technology.

lconsidine
lconsidine

As with any new hardware and/or software release there will be early adopters then the rest of us that will wait to see how this new technology plays itself out. It all goes back to costs and benefits. If WiMax is better, cheaper and faster ... it will gain a foothold in the market place. If not, it will fade into the sunset many other technologies.

mycleverusername
mycleverusername

I'm not sure of the potential of WiMAX in the future. For now I wish ATT could deliver decent voice data service to my home. I'm in the middle of a "built out" area and ATT doesn't seem to care about QOS. Might as well have WiMAX to put more pressure on the cell providers to fill in their holes..

ssg.macgyver
ssg.macgyver

I might not keep up with with all the new tech like most readers but in the end isn't it the customer that wins or loses. I remember Apples internet service and then one day when I needed online it was gone. In the end all of us want the same thing to be connected.

Fuzzy 1
Fuzzy 1

Simple Question: Is it IPv6 compatable? Or is everyone wasting their time?

guy.goiran
guy.goiran

Hands up for Jason's article on Wimax technology promises and development. What a change in the IT technnology litterature : no more boring and wordy text, but a crisp and clear summary of Wimax pros ands cons, with two self explanatory slides. Next critical success factor for Wimax deployment by existing Mobile and convergent (fix, mobiles and ISP) operators : what are the feasibility, migration, coexistence and human investments for both 3G and Wimax coverage ?

Schr?dinger's Cat
Schr?dinger's Cat

The WiMAX "standard" is missing one important thing--a frequency. Which of the several frequency bands that are available for WiMAX will the alleged laptops with WiMAX chips be configured for? In the WiFi standard the band(s) are specified so manufacturers easily built provider agnostic chips into the computers. WiMAX can be used on frequencies from 700 Mhz to over 4 Ghz (a stretch even for frequency agile radios). If each provider can select which frequency he will use the customer will be committed to that provider. WiMAX clearly had the opportunity to be a cellular killer...but by eliminating a frequency specification the technology will be just another offering with which service providers can try and hoard customers. Good for the service providers, but not much for the users who will have to choose providers to optimize coverage and pay for the privilege.

deqani
deqani

The main issues here is bandwith as we are all going to use VoIP in the future so the higher the bandwith the better the results, also we have to think also about the coverage the HSPA can go beyond the WiMAX so I think that the WiMAX will be a victim in this case.

jyri.poldre
jyri.poldre

How far can existing GSM base stations be programmed? Do they at some point need to be replaced so that the antenna mast will be the only remaining value? I do not believe that customers will be loyal to GSM if another less expensive mobile ip network emerges. Pepole still need to talk so the gadget will most likely remain in our pockets. In cause of evolution gsm will remain in far locations where the cost for new infrastructure is too high. In metropolitean areas winner will be the technology what packs most bit*hz*power. It is the battle for best encoding technology and lot of legal wars are on the way. Mgates will allow us to control RF more intimately at lower power and this can bring out situation where some small emerging company will license modem chips/Algorihms to major telco ops (remember dram battles). Some new technologies might never reach market because of these battles.

craig
craig

I have used both 3G and WiMax Internet in Australia and 3G in the UK. My experience so far: Costs: Australia - 3G is expensive, WiMax was reasonably inexpensive comparitively, but did not have anywhere near the coverage. Hence the change to 3G. I was paying AUD60 per month (10Gb) for WiMax and AUD90 (1Gb) for 3G. I only used 1-2Gb on the WiMax, reduced it to get the extra coverage. UK 3G / Mobile Data is cheap, for ??12 per month you get 3Gb, which is all anyone needs on the road. With a good Wifi network at home too, it is an easy transition. WiMax is not advertised here at all, and the local Wifi networks are over priced and have patchy coverage, even in London. (Only really in the City and at the airports, coffee shops etc) Coverage: Australia is a large place, the WiMax coverage was good in the capital Cities, and in a couple of reginal Cities, but no where else. 3G had a huge advantage over WiMax. UK Only used 3G here on T-Mobile, there 3G coverage is aweful, but the 2.5G is great and fast enough for browsing for basic needs (cinema times, google etc) Equipment: The WiMax modem either USB or Desktop modem was just an add-on to carry around, eith plugged into my PC or requiring a extra powerpoint to run! It was complicated, and annyoying. 3G is great, as it is built into my Nokia N95, I can bluetooth or USB connect with a standard cable to my Laptop which now has built in Bluetooth. USB is faster and less draining on the battery. The one disadvantage of using your phone as a modem is the Battery drain! You almost need to have charger handy all the time!! Which is annoying to say the least. Overall I would go for 3G in a heartbeat. If the equipment manufacturers make the batteries last longer, or alternatively when you connect via USB, the phone uses the laptops power it would be perfect. As it is an add -on to the network infrastructure, it is easy for carriers such as Telstra (AUS) and T-Mobile (UK) to tack it on the end of a current Voice /SMS plan.

i.hilliard
i.hilliard

At the moment, Internet access through 3G is quite expensive. The cellular providers can get away with this because there is really no competition. Once WiMAX starts to roll out, the cellular providers will have to drop their prices and WiMAX will have to enter the market at an even lower price if it wants to get a foot hold. Each of the technologies has its strengths and weaknesses. It is likely that both will be running in parallel, each with its band of loyal supporters. The competition is however going to force down prices for mobile computing, making the customer the ultimate winner. Ian

rdavis
rdavis

Is this the old microsoft strategy all over again? If they make phone calls free, especially mobile calls for a fixed broadband fee, then every person in the land will take one, then the coverage issues will be taken care of, and business is an extension of the home user. They will all take it to work, SME's will use it from day one if the technology is simple and easy to set up. My moneys on Wimax.

mwang_56
mwang_56

Yes, newspapers, radio, TV ... do co-exist, but they are play different roly, on paper, audio, and viduo. You can not use radio tech, for TV! So same as WiMAX and CDMA(2G,3G), they can co-exist, WiMAX for high data, VOIP, but CDMA only for voice and low speed data (expensive)

bop
bop

I like guys who knows their standards. But remember 70Mbps/50Km is only for stationary/semi mobile WiMAX. But it still proves why 3G shouldn't be your preffered network for data - "in flight" ;-))

bop
bop

If they use the same protocol/std as in DK then its not the same WiMAX we talk about. In Denmark its called WiMAXX - you see the difference from WiMAX.

bop
bop

>native IP is totally unsuited for wireless >networks - designed for wired networks >after all.... IPv4 is made for wired/stationary networks without "handover" but IPv6 has an extendtion specialy for mobile networking. Thats why its importent for WiMAX and thats why mobile WiMAX should be better than 3G for mobile data and mobile QoS and by that also for VoIP but not for neccesarily for mobile "phoning"

john.proctor
john.proctor

Cellular carriers may have the customers but the customers generally don't like them. Look at churn rates in that industry. Customer senitiment is that cellular carriers are raping them. Look at the posts to this thread. The winner will be the carrier(s) who: 1. are customer focussed 2. provide a reasonable service at a reasonable (customner perceived) price The technology will be really only an influencer on the cost and service qualiuty side. It does nothing to improve the woeful attitudes of 99.9% of the cellular cariers!

NgunnawalJack
NgunnawalJack

I already use my 3g phone for mobile "dsl" services. It works and it is inexpensive. I'm not with Telstra - they are very expensive for data traffic on Next G

bop
bop

yep - but it's still cheaper in use !

skrist01
skrist01

I love the technical discussion of this issue, but frankly, in the long run, it all comes down to marketing. Sprint is in charge. Enough said. For Wi-Fi to succeed, it will have to overwhelm Sprint financially to the point that they become acquisition fodder for someone who knows how to promote a new technology. This may be why the other carriers are sitting it out - figuring they can pick up the infrastructure on the cheap.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

The WiMAX Forum (the standards body for WiMAX) has been preparing for IPv6 compatibility. Since WiMAX is IP-based to begin with, this won't be a huge stretch.

Wirelesspro
Wirelesspro

WiMAX is just flexible! The WiMAX Forum specifies "profiles" that describe the use of the technology in different bands. The prime bands for WiMAX deployment will be 2.5-2.67GHz (N. America & later Europe), 3.4-3.3.8GHz (Primarily Europe), and 2.3GHz (e.g. Korea).

jos
jos

>>you get 3Gb which is all anyone needs on the road Bill gates said 640 k was all everyone was ever going to need IBM chairman watson said in the fifties i believe "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" Ken Olsen in 1977 "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home"

mwang_56
mwang_56

In fact, 3G still base on 2G CDMA tech. Its throughput will dropped fast and low to about 140k/s at the CDMA1X BTS converge edge. If you want to keep high data rate, you have to put 10 times more BTS, like D = 100m to 300m, BTS to BTS. This is why 3G network is very expensive, no stable, CDMA tech. limited the application. WiMAX is OFDM, Its throughput & converge 10-100 times then CDMA. I am not worry about the full mobile function. WiMAX mobility is base on COFDM tech. At my test, it work excelled, I can got 8m/s stable data at 180km/hr, and distance to BTS is 25km. It will be never reached by any CDMA tech! 3G CDMA use for high data, just like ask the middle school student to do differential & integral without right tech, it?s hard, need more skill, more difficult & expensive. WiMAX with the right tech., like the university student to same work, just get it easy, fast. So, do right thing need to have right tech, WiMAX is right, easy, cheap for high rate data, 3G CDMA is hard, cost, just can not do it well.

bop
bop

be a must for mobile WiMAX if it's supposed to be international usefull VoIP/internet access on the road over borders between ISP's

bop
bop

In DK 5.3-5.5GHz is in play to. What will be very importent to mobile WiMAX is a common spectrum or set of bands/frequencies that can be acommodated by a common hardware worldwide

Womble
Womble

robert Supply and demand rules the price of all things be it strawberries or high speed wireless. Telstra charges so high not only because demand is high, but also as the only trans continental supplier it has a sinecure on supply Do you think Sol Tuhillo fought so hard agains the Wimax rollout because he is just plain ornery. He is not. While he fights hard, he is also noted for his charm. He fights because the commercial reality of being in a dominant position is hugely beneficial for the dominant organisation. It is not the best for consumers, who get best benefit when they have a choice. For some, 3G will be the best technology, for others wimax will be. The important thing is to give people a realistic choice.

bop
bop

I belive we are talking about the same type of oil rigs - those that stay firmly where they are while producing or searching for oil !?. Boosting some 3G hi-powered signal with a fairly narrow beam ant.,LOS no obsticles - I belive 7Mbps over 150Km. But tell me how many meters/Sek the oil rig and the base station torward or from each other ?. My guess is no more than 2m/Sek (handheld-running) - or just about 5Km/hr - thats not what I call a mobile test. If you want a real test try this - sit i a car, hit the hi-way, run at the speed limit (130Km/hr in DK) and drive a near streat line of 50Km covered by 3G while simultainously cont. dwn and up load and tell what your avg. dwn/up load speed showed. Try do that across town (not speeding ;-)) and tell me the numbers - if its 7Mbps I'll accept your claim that 3G is a better technology. I think I can hit those oil rigs with 40-50Mbps using 802.11g if I have the same RF-power ;-)

mwang_56
mwang_56

So far Both Hutchison and DoCoMo can not make money from their 3G network, how Telstra can do this? The one of key reason for loss is that 3G is too expensive and only deliver very limited beneficed. It has very bad function/price rate. In fact, fully deployed well functioned 3G system need more then 10 times base stations compared with CDMA1X, and plus expensive wireless licenses, Telstra have to put huge money in, and consumers have to pay all this back, if not Telstra will loss too. Let use cross fingers and wait to see what happen. Any way Ericsson is winner

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I was talking about what the current specs look like. I don't disagree that WiMAX could expand in the future, but there's nothing concrete to point to yet. I do agree that the smart antenna technology in WiMAX is going to make things very interesting.

Aspiration Images
Aspiration Images

True, Next G is CDMA on steroids, but it is fully deployed and does provide broadband coverage across the Bass Strait (250Km) and on oil rigs 150Km from the coast, and 7M cards are available now with 14M planned. The 200km is distance (120 miles) not a speed past the basestation. Telstra won the wireless broadband category at the International Engineering Consortium?s (IEC) awards at the Broadband World Forum Europe in Berlin recently. Yes its expensive for consumers, but that's because demand is so high.

mwang_56
mwang_56

Hi Cooper, In fact, I do run lot of test about COFDMA prototype system. It is not exact WiMAX, but I believe final mobility WiMAX will use same tech., no other choices. About smart antennas, I am research it since 1994. Just do not thing about it. 1) It needs big space. At BTS is ok if only a few of users. If over 30 users it will be too expensive, in this case, just put more BTS is better and cheap. 2) But at mobile side is just too small can not use it. This is why that we talk, R/D at smart antennas over 10 year, but never real use it. I believer It is very important about the antennas, since AMPS, TDMA, GSM, CDMA, until now so call 3G, we use always same antennas! I think that good antennas for BTS, just like good speaker for Audio system, it is most important of key part for system RF performance. It is true that good antennas will make good RF coverage, and we can do lot of things to R/D good antenna, just like people make lots good speaker. But it is tough and challenge work. So call smart antennas is one of them, but unfortunately, it just a wrong way to go. OK, go back my COFDM test. In the BTS site, we use one omni, and three 120 deg antennas for simple diversity receiver, and one omni antennas to transit at 10W RF power at 90m tall tower. At Mobile side, two omni diversity receiver, one use transit too. we drove around at R = 25 km ? 30km at speed about 180km/hr, and get good 8mb/s stable throughputs. Those results make me confirm COFDM will be one of the best solution for 4G system. I think really system will better than my test, because I use some general RF parts, like LNAs, LPAs, antennas for my test, In fact we can make much better those parts for real 4G system. Then the result will be much better. I believer WiMAX as with the help of same tech. will have better result. I think that only way to confirm the tech. is really work, is to do test by you self, to really see it. At 1996, I worked for qualcomm, we run a test to made 40 call at one BTS at Vancouver, I believe CDMA is work. At 2004 I run above COFDM test at Guandong, I believe WiMAX is work too, and it will be much better than any 3G CDMA system. BTW, If we can use some advance antennas tech (not so call smart antennas) in any wireless, we will get more efficient, not only for WiMAX. One of my advance antennas research, if we use right antenna tech., we can improve CDMA BTS RF line capacity 400%. Compare with CDMA95 to CDMA2000 20%(1dB RF line ), It is really good simple things. IS-95 is only one book, IS-2000 is six books. 6 times only 1dB, not joke it is true!

mcooper
mcooper

Your information on HSDPA is most interesting and, I believe, accurate and expected. However, your comments about WiMAX are not exactly true. WiMAX will, one day, have higher data rates and lower cost than the 3G systems. But the mobility of WiMAX is slightly lower than 3G and the range considerations are still limited by physics. The advantage of WiMAX is OFDMA and smart antennas. The smart antennas don't do much in early versions but they will get a lot smarter in the future and that's when the cost benefit will occur. But, forget about 30-50 Km.

Womble
Womble

and you have a marvellous choice of plans for the $5 per moth plan you get 5 meg free then pay $1 per meg for the $119 per month plan you get 3Gb free then pay $0.25 per meg at 3mb/s you can burn this in half an hour. download 3 movies and you ar on the pay per meg plan people are still waking up to $3,000 phone bills maybe ok as a business user, but as a home user - NO!!!!

mwang_56
mwang_56

Hi, Robert, I checked, Next G is HSDPA, so call 3.5G, still CDMA. Do you really do drive test to get the result? Or just from some report or news? In fact HSDPA BTS(CDMA) at top data rate like 7Mb/S only can cover very small area about D = 0.1Km, when you drive far away from BTS, you only get something like 0.144Mb/S. When you moved at 200km/hr, you cross pass BTS top data rate cover about 2 seconds, then data rate will drop very quickly. If you drive a small circle around BTS is another story. This is CDMA, low tech. limited, no one, no way can change it. I done lots of drive test for COFDM, so I known WiMAX will be really do good job at high data rate 8-12Mb/s, high drive speed 180km/hr, and big coverage R=30-50 km. Also I am work at CDMA over 10 years, I know it very well. It is work same as GSM (anther 2G tech, but more expensive, only have 30% used in the whole world). But it is not good at all for high rate data (>144Kb/S). Some companies want to sell those expensive 3G first, only for get big $$$$$, then go to 4G, get more. Trick is all 3G document never tell you the how small the range of top data rate coverage. If tell the truth no one will buy it. Just like the story of VHS tape vs. CDROM. Both R/D finished same time, but those company put VHS type on market 1st, tape + VCR, got big $$$$, now DCROM came out, tape was gone! So same store about WiMAX (it is only one of 4G - wireless OFDM tech.) and 3G(CDMA). When 4G data network come out, expensive 3G data net will gone! Who pay who loss!

Aspiration Images
Aspiration Images

Hi mwang, Don't know about the US but in Australia Telstra has already deployed its Next G network operating at 7Mb/s download with typical user speeds of 550K - 3Mb/S and a peak upload of 1.9Mb/S. It works on oil platforms 150Km from the coast and roams to 170 countries. Try that on Wimax.