Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Clearwire In No Rush To Test "WiMax 2"

From According to sources at the IEEE, the 802.16m Mobile WiMax standard should be finalized sometime in the middle of this year. According to the WiMax forum, the technology can deliver 120 Mbps downstream and 60 Mbps upstream by using a 4X2 MIMO antenna configuration with a single 20 MHz TDD channel -- with even faster speeds possible using more sophisticated antenna configurations. However, according to Clearwire, the States' biggest Mobile WiMax carrier, they aren't in any hurry to test or deploy the technology, and company executives get vague when asked for a solid date:
Clearwire's CTO, John Saw, told Unstrung last week that the Kirkland, Wash.-based operator is watching the specification and won't be rushing to test the technology. "I don't think it's going to be this year. I think it's going to be much more likely 2011," says Saw of any trial timeline. Saw thinks that 2012 is "possible" for commercial deployment of 802.16m. One of the chief benefits of the new specifications would be more "spectrally efficient" 20MHz channels -- as opposed to current 10MHz channels -- for delivering voice, video, and data.
Samsung and Russian WiMax operator Yota are already testing the technology overseas, and Yota hopes to offer service sometime this year. Still, serious deployment of "WiMax 2" isn't expected until 2011 -- right around the time LTE technology will begin ramping up here in the States courtesy of Verizon and AT&T.

My thoughts: Clearwire really has no reason to rush. From what I hear, they are deploying 802.16e WiMAX base stations that are upgradeable to 802.16m this summer. Remember too, that they are currently the only 4G game in town! When LTE is finally deployed, perhaps a different situation will emerge.

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