by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 5th 2007 2:45am
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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