Summer of WiMAX
I recently posted a quick definition of WiMAX as a few readers had written in with questions about this new technology. A number of recent announcements suggest to me that I should be increasing my coverage of WiMAX, and not just because some observers believe that the WiMAX Forum is so good at PR that if they "got into politics, they could probably elect a lamp to office within weeks"
No, it might really be the Summer of WiMAX. Sumner Lemon, writing for The Industry Standard reports that WiMAX is about to take off in the People's Republic of China. Intel has apparently signed an agreement with the cities of Dalian and Chengdu which are expected to be among the first in China to deploy WiMax networks.
Brad Smith, writing for WirelessWeek reported that Sari Baldauf, head of Nokia Networks, said that Nokia will rejoin the WiMAX Forum this year. Support for WiMAX from a major mobile networks vendor should hasten deployment in many areas of the world.
But the big push this summer is coming from startups. Stephen Lawson, writing for E-Commerce Times writes of TowerStream and their use of WiMAX products from Aperto networks. And Newsfactor had this report last week on Alvarion's BreezeMAX product launch. While neither Aperto not Alvarion are precisely standards based (given that the standard is not quite complete) both companies are insisting that their products are "upgradeable" to the standard.
Intel has a significant investment in WiMAX but Stephen Lawson notes that "Intel expects to integrate WiMax in its Centrino wireless chip set along with Wi-Fi beginning in late 2006, with a wide rollout in 2007." This will be great for driving the per unit cost of WiMAX down to the point where it can be found in handsets and laptops, but the excitement is starting now. I can't wait to disconnect the phone line from my house...