by Mike Masnick

WiMax Is A Huge Success! No, It's Dead! It's A Success! It's Dead!

from the wimax-extremism dept

Back in November, we dinged Intel for the silly assertion that WiMax was a big success when no WiMax actually existed (despite the stories you might have read in the press). WiMax equipment was still in the certification stage -- and while that certification finally happened, it is still quite limited. The hype level concerning WiMax has certainly gone to ridiculous lengths, and it's too bad that so many seem to have fallen for it. The "WiMax" networks that the press talks about are almost entirely not WiMax, but some proprietary technology that the vendor hopes to maybe someday upgrade to WiMax, if possible. Still, with all of that, it's fairly amusing to see Qualcomm's latest statement that WiMax is dead. Of course, just as Intel is biased because they've bet so much on WiMax, Qualcomm is biased because they've bet so much on WiMax competitor FLASH-OFDM. Honestly, though, is it really so hard to wait until the technology is actually tested in a real environment before we declare it dead or a success? The "extremism" over WiMax doesn't do anyone any good, and is only going to lead to more false expectations concerning the technology. Unfortunately, it seems like recently "false expectations" are what the wireless industry has been best at delivering.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Patrick Mullen, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    WiMAX will be a big thing, its the NGN, it allows coverage instead of laying copper/fiber/cable. It will help with the digital/rural devide. They are substantially cheaper to build for new entrants as opposed to CDMA. It will be an interesting couple of years, and in the end, one technology may turn out to be more dominant than another, but there may be room and application for both.

    At the end of the day, once the networks are deployed, the provider will still have to acquire and provision customers, bill and settle, provide complex customer support, and provide strong content management.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 7th, 2006 @ 12:17pm


    I don't think anyone (save Qualcomm) is denying WiMax's potential. The problem is anyone declaring it dead or a success so soon.

    It definitely solves some problems... if it works and if it's cheap -- which may or may not be true.

    Also, there are other wireless broadband technologies out there other than WiMax and some of them seem further along.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Jeremy Sarda, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 12:18pm

    Better, less corporate, next gen. wireless technol

    Everyone needs to check out xMax from xG Technology... This deserves a lot more hype than it's getting.

    http://www.x gtechnology.com/about.asp

    When the whole world has free wireless internet, I'm gonna piss my pants in excitement...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 7th, 2006 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Better, less corporate, next gen. wireless tec

    Everyone needs to check out xMax from xG Technology... This deserves a lot more hype than it's getting.

    What?!? You can't be serious. We've written about xG a few times, and it's *really* questionable. The only people who say it works are people who are paid by the company and nothing about the technology has been revealed.

    Until there's actual evidence of how the technology works and what it really does, I'm sorry, but xG remains in the "not real" category.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    How would it work?

    Wirelss anywhere I go sounds great. I haven't done much research on it, so maybe I should. But how are the WiMax providers going to charge me? Are they going to give me an encryption key to access their networks (which would be public knowledge instantly)? Or maybe some lame piece of software to configure my device for me. All I know is that I can disappear at the change of my router's MAC address on a hardline network. Would doing this then cease your WiMax to stop working? Someone please enlighten me. Thanks

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Andrew Schmitt, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 12:42pm

    IEEE Name Change

    Should change the name to HypeMax.

    Ask - anyone who knows a lot about Wimax (I am not one of them) and they all will agree that the word has been distorted beyond belief.

    Wimax is following the normal technology perception curve, right now it is peaking - soon it will fall into the valley of technology disillusionment to either slowly claw it's way into the mainstream or quietly go away (like ISDN).

    As for xG - anyone who write that something needs more 'hype' clearly has an agenda. More 'attention' might had slipped pass the B.S. filter. Do these guys make little cell booster stickers for the back of my phone too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Nancy, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 1:03pm

    I just want to play...

    ...World of Warcraft on long trips in the car without using my cellphone's airtime. Then I'll be happy. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Comboman, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 1:54pm

    WiMax vs. FLASH-OFDM

    Not knowing anything about the underlying technology, I'm putting my money on WiMax based strictly on the name. What dork thought FLASH-OFDM would be catchy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 4:54pm


    And exactly how do you know that. Have you used WiMAX extensively? Do you know people who have used WiMAX extensively?

    I will answer both questions for you......NO! You or nobody you know has used WiMAX extensively so you have no way of knowing anything you just stated other than from the HYPE YOU YOURSELF ARE DEFENDING! You are part of the problem. I can tell you from an engineering point of view that there is no way WiMAX will meet the expectations set by the HYPE machines. NO WAY without violating the laws of physics. The range and performance will be disappointing, the limitations (have a tree between you and the tower maybe?!) will also be a let down. For sure I would only expect maybe have the range they are claiming. Maybe less if you are assuming a very stable reliable signal.

    You will just have to trust me on these statements because there ARE NO LONG TIME USERS and what people are using pre-WIMAX are not in sufficient numbers and have not had it long enough to get a statistically significant feel for the reality.

    Oh sure, it is an improvement over WiFi which is not a hard thing to do. Just don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Austin, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 4:31am

    I hope WiMax is not all hype because I live in the country and the only thing offered around these parts is 1.5Mbps down wireless and it sucks for gaming. Hopefully WiMax proves to be a worthy contender. We just gotta wait and see what happens...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anon, Apr 12th, 2006 @ 1:32am

    WiMax network in Pakistan

    Wateen Telecom of Pakistan has signed a contract with Motorola for a CMSN (Converged Multi Access Service Network) which includes a WiMax solution.

    It will one of the first 802.16e implemenation in the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Muhammad Faisal Aziz, Apr 14th, 2006 @ 4:10am

    Re: WiMax network in Pakistan

    Hi Yup Wateen Telecom deploy one of the biggest network of 802.16e in Pakistan in 22 cities with Motorola and the rollout is start and i am be the part of team of Wimax from Wateen

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Tim, Apr 20th, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    WiMAX not real? NOT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Tim, Apr 20th, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    WiMAX not real? NOT!

    There has been WiBRO service offered in Korea for several months now. This service uses the same technolgy as WiMAX, except the branding is different because they didn't want to wait for the IEEE standard to be finalized and risked using the draft version instead (but to my knowledge there were no significant changes made so it ended up being a good risk afterall).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Muhammad Farhan, May 4th, 2006 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re: WiMax network in Pakistan

    i am student of telecommunication engg, i want to know about wimax in pakistan and working which is done in pakistan because i am very much interested in OFDM which is not only my project but my field of interest
    it will be very help ful for me if you could send me some useful link thanks

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 5th, 2006 @ 11:10pm

    Regarding WiBRO for TIM

    Tim, your post was made in April. It is now July 2007, and according to my daily news from Telecoms Korea, KT and SKT are about to launch their WiBRO networks commercially this month.

    In April, there were two pilot projects.

    Now, WiBRO is NOT WiMAX. Just because the two share some core technology does not make them the same. The key to a standard is that things need to be almost EXACTLY the same so that they can INTEROPERATE. That means you can take equipment from one vendor, and use it with equipment from another vendor. This is what makes standards work in the market, because vendors that adhere to the standard can sell compatible kit. That means customers can buy whatever, and it will work. Carriers like it because they are not locked to one vendor, and thus vendors need to compete for business, so prices go down. Plus, with everyone using the same standard, volumes for components go up, and prices come down. It's the whole virtuous circle.

    There is a lot more to this than just sharing technology like WiBRO and mobile MAX. TDMA cell phones and GSM phones share essentially the same technology, but the two cannot interoperate. You can't put a TDMA phone on a GSM network or vice versa. The little nagging details of standard specs, adherence to the spec, and testing prove to be dramatic hurdles.

    So while WiBRO is a standard, it is NOT WiMAX. But the IEEE may just see it as the only working thing close to WiMAX, and eventually decide to call it WiMAX if their own version stalls out. That has not yet happened.

    Next, how is WiBRO doing, since I have the benefit of writing this three months after you. Well, quite poorly, as one would expect of a new standard. There is only one PCMCIA card type available. iRiver, who was to make a mobile media device, has announced they have not been able to get it to work yet. Samsung, who was to be selling the only WiBRO handset for the pilot and launch, has recalled their latest demo units. Apparently there is a problem with the phones getting very hot.

    So, just one terminal device available for use. How does it work? Well, apparently KT packed a bunch of execs and press in a bus in Seoul to show them streaming media as the bus rolled around a few blocks of Seoul where the pilot network is deployed. Unfortunately, the press go to see the demo fail miserably, as a connection was only established successfully after the bus had finished the tour. KT said, just go in the expo center and see our demo in there.

    SKT and KT have pulled back their build-out schedule, and are only continuing the footprints of their pilot networks. SKT is only operating six "hotzones" around Seoul college campuses.

    According to press, inside the same trade show, KT was demonstrating WiBRO video, but could only achieve a 50Kbps downstream rate.

    So, while this is all very damning. It could be that it's just normal for an immature technology. But for now, there is no mobile WiMAX, and the WiBRO that does exist is very poor.

    My source for all this is telecomskorea.com. It is normally subscription only, which is why I have cited them without hyperlinks. The followign two articles are just two examples for those who have access:
    http://www.telecomskorea.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=3945&Itemid= 2

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Better, less corporate, next gen. wireless

    Duh!! Yeah it´s not real, but Mike and Carlo are..

    What a bunch of idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    John Newkirk, Jul 2nd, 2007 @ 12:35am


    You must be kidding about xMax replacing WiMax. See marconig.wordpress.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Phil, Jul 19th, 2007 @ 6:38pm

    Re: xMax

    See also my analysis. I worked the available numbers from xG's one public demo (using a 200+ meter tower in Florida) to show that xMax was nothing special. The signal was so strong that just about any conventional radio modulation would have worked fine.

    xG claims a huge range for xMax but it's based on this one highly unrealistic demo. Put WiFi on a 200m tower above flat open terrain and it will go very far too.

    I.e., xMax probably "works", but definitely no better than the alternatives, and probably not even as well.

    Disclaimer: I work for Qualcomm, but I did this on my own. If you don't believe my numbers, check them yourself or ask some professional communication engineers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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