Wireless Showdowns That Compare Apples And Oranges

from the better-than-what-now? dept

WiMax has been having some troubles lately, but there’s still a half decent chance it will eventually be useful. However, with some suggesting that recent WiMax tests show it’s better than the competition (via Broadband Reports), it’s worth digging into the details a little bit. The actual report (pdf) doesn’t seem to compare it to very much “competition.” It merely compares it to WiFi — which is not and was never meant to be a competitor to WiMax. WiFi is a local area solution. WiMax is a wide-area solution. They’re very, very different. It would be a shock if anyone ever discovered that in a wide-area wireless offering that WiFi performed better than WiMax, because that would mean WiMax was in serious trouble. Also, this is how WiMax performed under special circumstances, on a small scale, with a special permit from the FCC. Besides, the issue has never been about getting a WiMax access point to work. The real problem that people are having with WiMax is getting it deployed and working on a wide-scale in a cost effective manner that people will use — none of which this particular test dealt with. So, we have a small-scale deployment that basically works better than a technology that wasn’t even meant to compete in the space. It’s like comparing a Ford Pinto to a skateboard and announcing that the Pinto is better for driving across the state. That’s true, but it hardly means the press should declare the Pinto as the best solution out there.

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Comments on “Wireless Showdowns That Compare Apples And Oranges”

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Freedom says:

Why WiMax?

If I can get Internet from my cell phone provider via a PC Card, etc., why do we need WiMax? Isn’t this essentially WiMax?

Sure, right now it’s expensive but competition will bring that down and as they improve their networks for a “data world” the speeds will get better as well.

Maybe I’m just missing something, but to me it seems like we already have “WiMax Solutions” from Verizon, Sprint, etc.

alaric says:

PC Community Lacks Wireless Knowledge

This is one of the main problems here. Much of the WiMAX hype has been directed to what is ultimately the PC community and its supporting industries (like broadband).

These analysts and reporters lack knowledge in wireless and they don’t realize things like Intel’s 30 mile range is dependent on many many conditions or that many wireless techs can do the same.

Thus Intel’s hype has gone on unabated until recently but honest technical assessment of the technology has yet to reach most journalists/analysts.

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