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Wireless Networking

WiMax In 2010 — Too Little, Too Late? 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the that-only-gives-it-two-years dept.
CWmike writes "By the end of 2010, users in more than 80 US cities may be able to ditch their cable modems, T1 setups and DSL lines — and the Wi-Fi routers that go with them — in favor of WiMax wireless technology. Wait, haven't we heard that before? WiMax has been promised 'any day now' for years, but WiMax vendors such as Clearwire Communications LLC have suffered numerous delays in rolling out services. A recent ramp-up in Clearwire deployments bodes well for WiMax, but it may not have the chance to fully get off the ground before a competing technology called Long-Term Evolution (LTE) does it in. Craig Mathias, principal analyst at Farpoint Group and a Computerworld columnist, sees WiMax taking a minority stake in the wireless broadband future. 'LTE will eventually be a combined broadband voice/data solution that can do everything that WiMax can and more,' he said. Mathias believes that LTE could get up to 80% of the global market share in future cellular installations. 'This leaves WiMax with a potential market share that cannot exceed 20% — but that's still a huge number, assuming 4 billion users around 2020 or so," he said. 'You do the math. The opportunity is nothing to sneeze at.'"
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WiMax In 2010 — Too Little, Too Late?

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  • Wi Max ? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wi Not?
  • Umm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:21AM (#29475219)

    Who would want to ditch a perfectly good DSL line, for a slow, unstable and laggy wireless?

    Wimax is probably great for people on the move, but I just don't see it replacing my 10/10mbit line.

    • Re:Umm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shag (3737) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:15AM (#29475397) Homepage

      Living on one of the less-populated islands in Hawaii, I have no reasonable hope of WiMax or LTE any time in the near future.

      Oh, sure, ClearWire has been in Honolulu for ages, and in some of the more touristy areas of other islands, but here in the state's 2nd-largest city? Nah. Maybe the rain breaks it, I dunno.

      These days, the options are DSL, Cable, 3G GSM from AT&T or maybe T-Mobile (can't imagine that being fast enough to do anything with, given load times on my iPhone) or EV-DO (presumably first-generation). Oh, and some of the off-grid folks in the hinterlands probably have satellite. I've considered the EV-DO option, but I do some work from home that requires dual VNC sessions, so I'm not sure whether it would be practical yet.

      The DSL is at least pretty rock-stable - It's only gone out one or two times in ten years.

      • by petes_PoV (912422)
        Well, in rural Spain WiMax or using your 3G phone (or a 3G dongle for a PC) are all there is - leaving out the excruciatingly expensive and hopelessly slow and capped satellite circuits . Speed's lousy and costs are high (as are all tech. costs in Spain). However when you can't even get the telephone monopoly to run a land-line to your place, the options are few.

        Given the choice between Wimax and ADSL I'd go for the hard-wired option any day: faster, more reliable, lower install cost and (maybe) scalable

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by squidguy (846256)
        Shaka Brah...you live in paradise brah...ok Hilo maybe ain't Kona, but why the fsck do you care about networks? You must be smoking some good stuff like Neil Abercrombie!
        • by Shag (3737)

          Hilo maybe ain't Kona, but why the fsck do you care about networks?

          I think its safe to say that we generate more gigabytes of FITS files per capita than anywhere else on the planet. :)

      • Re:Umm (Score:4, Informative)

        by Forge (2456) <kevinforgeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:33AM (#29475777) Homepage Journal
        Disclaimer: I work for the cellphone company that's currently rolling out WiMax i Jamaica.

        We are doing it so we can deliver broadband Internet to those people who simply never had it before in any shape or form. Hard as the concept is for 1st world geeks to grasp, there are places where it's likely, you don't have a phone line running by the house and where if you do it's most likely beyond the effective range of ADSL.

        3G can do the same thing too. Except the technology is so expensive (compared to WiMax) that it's only worthwhile s a premium service, bundled with expensive phones and high end call rate packages. I.e. Outside the price range of 2 million of our current customers.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          My dad in Norway just got broadband Internet access for the first time. The area he live in has build a private, but government subsidised WiMax network.

          It might have been 10 more years before anyone had bothered with fiber. The population density of the municipality is 0.7 / km2.

          We have many places like that in our first world country.

          • by Forge (2456)
            How many of them are within the 5 miles of the center of a capital city with populations in the thousands per square mile?

            We have remote sparsely populated areas too. I apologize for not making it clear that I wasn't talking about those places. Some of the places with no broadband are within walking distance of the #1 and #2 universities in the country. (UWI and UTech)
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "I have no reasonable hope of WiMax or LTE any time in the near future."

        That's partly because phone companies have tried very hard to hold back and delay WiMax, even going to the authorities to create every block and legal delay on it they can. They have also run an extensive and on going negative PR campaign against WiMax trying to say its not worth having ... all because ultimately they know and fear it competes in an open way with part of their business. Its not a total competitor to phones but it risks

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:23PM (#29478407) Journal

          Which is why if we are ever gonna get nationwide broadband we are gonna HAVE to confiscate the last mile. There is simply no other choice. My mother has been 2 blocks short of cable since the house was built 29 years ago. Guess how far away she is now? Can you say "two blocks" because they and the DSL got together ages ago and decided to only "cherry pick" and refuse to serve anyone else? i think you can.

          In the past dozen years I have seen no less than three different startups try to service the area, only to get run out on a rail by the combined might of the teleco/cableco duopoloy. The latest is a WISP, which I predict will be dead by spring. You see the backbone provider, which also happens to be the one that offers the substandard 19k dialup(yes that is no typo, you are lucky if you reach 33k on a good day) squeezes them on the price of backbone access until they simply can't offer their service at a price anyone can afford to pay.

          I was told by a friend of mine who ran a startup in the area that they squeezed out that upon consulting a lawyer he was told expect the price of suing them to run close to 1 million dollars, and expect it to take a decade or more to wind through the courts, so he just shut up shop and moved away. The WISP, which started out at unlimited 1Mb for $50 and thanks to being squeezed is now only able to offer download limited 733k for $150, won't survive much longer.

          So pretty much the ONLY way we are gonna get nationwide broadband is to kill the duopoly by seizing the last mile. We paid them billions [newnetworks.com] in tax breaks to run lines they didn't bother to, so we have the reason to seize right there. We should give them 90 days to pay back every red cent with interest, or take the whole damned thing. if they want a monopoly? Run lines to those houses that have no broadband now and we'll give you x number of years as a monopoly with them. Double if you run fiber. If we don't do this then I have no doubt they will simply continue to "cherry pick" while everybody else gets to deal with oversold lines that continue to degrade as they aren't even spending money on maintaining the lines anymore. They are just too busy shoveling money into their pockets to give a shit.

    • LTE won't replace your DSL line - it'll use it. I mean, do you directly plug into your modems ethernet port? That configuration is rare, from what I've seen. Much more common is home wifi. LTE will replace your current wifi router box with a different wireless router box, and you won't know much difference except that if you open up your 4G equipped netbook and start a fast download, then walk outside down to the local park, the only thing that'll happen is your download gets slower. No connection interrupt
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Wrongo. LTE and WiMax currently require expensive hardware on one end. It's still going to be WiFi in the home like always (but now the 5 GHz N instead of 2.4 GHz B/G) and people will get LTE to their house, then use WiFi inside. You still won't notice moving from home to the roaming connection if you use bittorrent :P

      • by Yusef (1415155)
        i was a install guy for wimax in Atlanta....you don't use any DSL lines at least outside the house. i mean you can route it through the house like you do with normal internet. but to get in the house it's all wireless. You can either hook it to a router and have it all wireless or you can wire it through the house...........not smart haha
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by crossmr (957846)

      I didn't realize Wimax was in such a sorry state in the US. Here in Korea it is absolutely terrific.
      The entire city of Seoul is set up and running. Its called Wibro

      I pay the equivalent of about $20 a month. I get this fantastic little thing called an Egg. Its basically a battery operated wimax router. It takes in wimax and converts it to wifi.
      I get a 50GB/month limit for that $20.

      it works anywhere in the city (and a fair distance outside the actual city itself). Seoul has over 250 subway stations that would

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I didn't realize WiMax was in such a sorry state in Korea.

        Here in Atlanta, we are blanketed by Clear and there is no usage cap at all. For my monthly payment, I get the home modem and a portable one I can plug into my laptop that works anywhere I go all over the city.

        America is a big place.

        • by Yusef (1415155)
          clear is all over down there! it worked wonderful while I was there...nwo I'm back in NM and clear hasn't even announced plans for this state
        • by crossmr (957846)

          You plug into your laptop? Oh..that's unfortunate. What if you don't have a laptop? What if you have an ipod touch, PSP, or other PMP?
          Oh.. I see. You have to actually buy one of the only wimax ready devices.. a Samsung Mondi (Korean made btw)

          too bad, keep trying.

          Coverage?
          Hmm
          http://news.digitaltrends.com/feature/122/testing-clear-s-wimax-internet-service [digitaltrends.com]

          Failed in the parking garage? Too bad..
          the egg performed like a champ in the bowels of a building I was in.

          Looks like clear didn't cut it there.

          failed on the

    • by strstr (539330)

      WiMAX beats your 10/10mbit line throughput wise, and is capable of more.

      Current users are getting 16Mbps/6Mbps. Latency as low as 40ms (portland to Seattle WA).

      What others are getting. [howardforums.com]

    • The real problem with every wireless scheme introduced to date is that there's not enough bandwidth. The is the big, 100lb gorilla that no one is addressing.

      Do the math. OK, so peak download speeds with LTE might be 100Mbps. That sounds good. But put 1000 users on that link, and let 50-100 simultaneously try to do bandwidth-intensive stuff (from YouTube to gaming to you-name-it), and the whole thing will STILL slow to a crawl.

      I don't see wireless ever completely replacing wired access. Right now, I'm in

  • Back in the good old days there was hype surrounding WiMax that anyone would be able to buy an access point and use it in unlicensed spectrum but so far all the WiMax equipment I've seen is horrendously expensive and looks more like GSM equipment

    What we need is a longer range version of WiFi that ordinary people can deploy and set up a decentralised network and hopefully put these mobile phone companies who charge extortionate amounts for bandwidth out of business.

    LTE is just boring, ordinary consumer
    • We can expect that internet access technologies will be decided by and controlled by the usual corporate suspects to maximize profits.
      Grassroots co-op networks are needed but missing the technology.
      BTW here is a link to the print version of the article (it's still Mohawk, though).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by queazocotal (915608)

        Unfortunately - the physics doesn't let you do 'free wireless broadband for everyone'.

        Radio waves travel until they hit something.

        To make an analogy.

        You're at a sports event in a large stadium.

        You can talk to your neighbour just fine, if everyone is also talking to their neighbour, however you can't be heard by someone 5 seats away though they might hear just fine if everyone was quiet for a moment.

        But if everyone raises their voice to the level that they can be heard 5 seats away - the background noise lev

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Unfortunately - the physics doesn't let you do 'free wireless broadband for everyone'.

          So... you throw more spectrum at the problem, plus time-slotted operation. Wifi fails because it has a total of 3 non-overlapping channels and brute force media access. It's entirely possible to make wireless networking equipment that supports way more channels and where neighbors negotiate time division for a single channel.
          It's not impossible to congest such a network... but it sure as hell would provide way more room th

          • And there is only a limited amount of spectrum available.

            Sure - you can create ten or a hundred times more bandwidth by expanding the 'wifi' spectrum.

            And timeslotted operation relies on one of two things.

            An operator to allocate the slots.

            A user-proof protocol so that the users cannot screw with the timeslot allocation.

            If the users can screw with it - you _will_ get people setting thier and their friends nodes to gain a bit more than their share of bandwidth.
            And it all goes rather downhill from here.

            • by Jared555 (874152)

              The issue isn't having enough spectrum to use (10GHZ on up is relatively low use), the issue is feasibility. Extremely High Frequency (around 30-300GHZ) is already used for communications with connections above 1gbit, I just doubt the equipment is affordable.

              Now if you could develop the technology where there is a 5GHZ range for consumer wireless requiring the same bandwidth out of that range then you have a massive number of channels available. I am sure this technology is mostly/entirely point to point

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sjames (1099)

              Wired networks used to use a sort of timeslot based system, we called it token ring. Then we discovered that collision detection and backoff could work better and have no central authority. We call it Ethernet.

              Agreed, it does require that people not tweek their hardware to cheat, but that can be managed even with open drivers. You just make the hardware have no knob to defeat collision detection or adjust the backoff. There won't be very many people shaving the carrier off and shooting the silicon with a la

              • by eggnet (75425)

                Wired networks used to use a sort of timeslot based system, we called it token ring. Then we discovered that collision detection and backoff could work better and have no central authority. We call it Ethernet.

                No, Ethernet was cheaper not faster. And you're talking about 15 years ago.

                Current Ethernet products meet those requirements already in a chip that costs <$10.

                Current Ethernet chips that you might find in a NIC handle the original half duplex spec, which offers no protection against people trying to "cheat." They also handle the much more popular full duplex mode of operation that requires either a point to point connection with another host, or a connection to a switch.

                Ethernet switches and layer 3 switches are the devices that control traffic flow and isolate one host from another. An

                • by sjames (1099)

                  Wired networks used to use a sort of timeslot based system, we called it token ring. Then we discovered that collision detection and backoff could work better and have no central authority. We call it Ethernet.

                  No, Ethernet was cheaper not faster. And you're talking about 15 years ago.

                  Right there in what you quoted, I said BETTER. I said nothing about faster. Better as in the whole thing doesn't grind to a halt when the token goes missing. It WAS cheaper, and quickly got faster as well. The one thing it didn't do better was low jitter. And I'm talking about 20-25 years ago.

                  Current Ethernet products meet those requirements already in a chip that costs <$10.

                  Current Ethernet chips that you might find in a NIC handle the original half duplex spec, which offers no protection against people trying to "cheat."

                  The chip handles the collision detection and backoff internally. The driver CAN NOT get the chip to cheat. There simply isn't a register to frob for that. You'd need a laser and electron microscope (at least!) to chang

    • by puhuri (701880)

      Why anyone would like to have LTE base station of their own? There is this technology called WLAN that you have been able to buy for more than then years and have your private wireless network where you need.

      WiMAX (or similar like Flash-OFDM) do have some uses, but most likely to serve some niche markets. LTE is just another radio technology mobile phones support: like UMTS and HSDPA was add after GSM, so will LTE be available

      For me it has been sufficient to have in laptop both WLAN and bluetooth to connect

    • by jav1231 (539129)
      In other news, most existing FPS games are set to be trounced by Duke Nukem Forever. With it's feature-rich environment and state of the art rendering existing games can only hope to maintain about a 20% market share!
    • by Yusef (1415155)
      with clear if you get a 2 year contract (like any cellphone company) you get the equipment for free. the usb drive is smaller than the 3G Laptop cards adn the home modem is smaller than a comcast modem. it's quite nice. it takes 3 seconds to set up
    • LTE is just boring, ordinary consumers will never be able to set up their own private LTE base.

      Just like ordinary consumers couldn't set up their own WiFi base in the past but can now, in the future ordinary people will be able to set up LTE base stations if it ever gets much pickup from people. Even geeks should know technology gets easier as tyme goes by.

      All LTE will allow me to do is use up my 250MB a month data allowance even faster

      So will anything that has higher speeds whether it's a new WiFi standar

  • WiMAX will be great for mobile devices, where a bit of latency or a dropped connection is better than no internet at all. But does anyone seriously think it'll be replacing the hard line? The nice thing about using wires or optical fiber is that the signals don't get crossed and it tends to work much more consistently much more of the time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In my country recently, a company launched Wimax internet,I tried it.

      For the first few days, I was receiving my full bandwidth and was very happy.

      Then for the next months, I almost threw the Wimax modem out of the window and was also having some suicidal tendencies...
      (I think you must have understood what the gravity of the situation was)

    • Absolutely agree. WiMax will not replace wired broadband, not just because of reliability but I think mainly because of price/performance ratio. I have ClearWire as an option where I live, but here is how it compares with other broadband options: ClearWire Residential (ClearPremium) - 2Mbps / 256K => $44.99/mo and 2 year commitment (first 3 months 24.99). Comcast cable - 50Mbps / 10Mbps (burst speeds only) => $42.95-$59.95/month depending on neighbourhood, 1 yr commitment (first 6 months $19.
      • by Yusef (1415155)
        Clear is owned by Clearwire. Clear is Wimax, Clearwire isn't. I've sold both. ClearWire is a rip off!!!! Clear is awesome! With clear you can get 6mbps $44/month. or at least in Atlanta and Portland that's what it was. You could, when I was selling it, get the home modem at 6mbps and a usb modem, 4 mbps, for $55/month! it is a great deal! and very reliable
      • Even if there were no reliability or speed issues,why would I choose a slower service for about the same price?

        You may not have a problem but some of us want mobile broadband.

        Falcon

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JohnWhitney (707445)
      Is that really a common WiMax experience?

      I've had ClearWire for about two years now, and have gotten a reliable 1.5Mbps/256kbps connection with no hiccups. Now they have converted me over to a 5Mbps/500kbps connection for the same price (although I seem to be getting around 2.5Mbps instead of 5). I've never had the problems you are complaining about.
  • Where is the news in this article? Wimax has been coming soonâ for like 700 years.
    • by Yusef (1415155)
      go to clear.com and see if YOU can buy it RIGHT NOW!it's only in select areas right now. Most big cites in Texas, LV, ATL, Portland, and It think Baltimore. They are rolling out another 50 cities or so next year. just google clear wimax
  • easy money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Takichi (1053302) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:28AM (#29475253)
    Wow, getting rich is easy! After analysis, I believe my unproven product will get 80% market share. I'll just wait for the cash to start rolling in now. I feel bad for all my competitors wasting their time!
  • The featured article says that these competing technologies are essentially the same, but with different "politics" and brand names. Can anyone clarify why LTE would get 80% and WiMax only 20%, or is that speculation bogus?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's the old "telco" vs. "Internet" battle.

      "telco" solutions are generally full featured, "heavy" solutions. "Internet" solutions are lighter weight, easier to implement, "good enough" and often succeed by stealing all the low hanging fruit.

      LTE is from the telco camp (it's the successor to 3G mobile phone standards). WiMax is from the Internet camp. My guess is that WiMax is a little too light weight, and so not up to the task of forming a seamless network, hence the reason why it is late to market. By

    • by tagno25 (1518033)

      Can anyone clarify why LTE would get 80% and WiMax only 20%, or is that speculation bogus?

      It is random speculation. AFAIK, LTE is all IP based, probably IPv6, even the voice is transmitted using a VoIP protocol (SIP?) where as WiMax is more of a data connection w/o voice. Yes, the voice could be VoIP, but WiMax is designed more for computer interment streams and have a [current] working limit of approximately 65Mbit/s total throughput half-duplex per AP.

      • by cybereal (621599)

        Can anyone clarify why LTE would get 80% and WiMax only 20%, or is that speculation bogus?

        It is random speculation. AFAIK, LTE is all IP based, probably IPv6, even the voice is transmitted using a VoIP protocol (SIP?) where as WiMax is more of a data connection w/o voice. Yes, the voice could be VoIP, but WiMax is designed more for computer interment streams and have a [current] working limit of approximately 65Mbit/s total throughput half-duplex per AP.

        Actually WiMax and LTE use the exact same underlying network layer, with very minor differences to optimizations. Furthermore, LTE will not be IP based initially. The name itself reflects this idea that it will start with conventional wireless network design so that it's easier to do handovers between say, CDMA and LTE towers, and when the whole network segments are moved to LTE, then the next "evolution" will involve a move to IP based communication, and VoIP (though likely not what you're used to thinki

        • by dbcad7 (771464)
          It's surprising the number of people who already think that their voice service is being broadcast using their 3G .. hence all the recent comments by people about i-phone users surfing the web causing their dropped calls.. I know that isn't the case now, and I know I don't get a vote on it, but I think I prefer the way it is, keeping them separate.
  • by Xerfas (1625945) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:36AM (#29475275) Journal
    LTE is still far into the future. We are currently testing LTE in some sites here in Sweden and it's quite expensive. Plus we need more terminals with the LTE chip before this will be a breakthrough among the population. My guess is that here in Sweden we will have a bad/ok LTE connection around 2015, and around 2017 ïwe will have about as much as 90ï-95% of Sweden covered with LTE. Where as in USA which is a bit larger I don't think you'll have okish LTE connectivity until 2020. But these are just number I pulled out from a dark place and guesses from when I worked at TeliaSonera (Swedens largest mobile access provider) with different projects like Telia Homerun (wifi in public places) and UMTS. Wimax is a good solution until then, if it's rolled out within 2-3 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tagno25 (1518033)

      Where as in USA which is a bit larger I don't think you'll have okish LTE connectivity until 2020.

      More like 2050. We do not even have decent 3G outside the highly populated areas by 4-5 miles. There are even areas that do not even have edge or gprs near me (and plenty that have no cellular coverage to even make a call).

      • by peragrin (659227)

        What's worse is that the carriers can't claim income. In a very expensive neighborhood you can get limited edge connections only. when I say expensive, the average 2,000 square foot home is $700,000 and living next to billionaries isn't uncommon.

        A fairly easy to do project and the carriers refuse to put upgraded wireless, and even wired connections there. Odd enough decent connections are less than 10 miles away too.

        Int he USA the only way to force the carriers to upgrade their infrastructure will be to

      • It's fun to piss on the US, but Verizon appears to be taking the lead in LTE deployment, T-Mobile (US) has announced HSPA+ by the end of 2010, and AT&T serves more HSDPA customers than any other wireless provider in the world.

        So, yeah, OK. Whatever. I guess I'll have to choose between two different HSDPA networks and three different CDMA2000 EV-DO networks here in the "highly populated area" of Boulder, CO.

        Go look at this map and then tell me that there isn't 3G coverage "outside the highly populated ar

    • I don't know if LTE will ever be 100% deployed. LTE chips are backwards compatible with 3G and 2G, right? And they can roam freely between them. LTE makes most sense to deploy in the home first, as a WiFi replacement, and then by upgrading macrocells in urban areas where smartphone traffic is stressing the local infrastructure. Whether LTE gets deployed to suburban or rural areas I can't say - the bandwidth/latency upgrades probably aren't important there for people outside.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Xerfas (1625945)
        Yes, LTE is backward compatible

        The LTE specification provides downlink peak rates of at least 100 Mbps, an uplink of at least 50 Mbit/s and RAN round-trip times of less than 10 ms. LTE supports scalable carrier bandwidths, from 20 MHz down to 1.4 MHz and supports both Frequency Division Duplexing and Time Division Duplexing. Part of the LTE standard is the System Architecture Evolution, a flat IP-based network architecture designed to replace the GPRS Core Network and ensure support for, and mobility between, some legacy or non-3GPP systems, for example GPRS and WiMax respectively.[5] The main advantages with LTE are high throughput, low latency, plug and play, FDD and TDD in the same platform, improved end-user experience and simple architecture resulting in low operating expenditures. LTE will also support seamless passing to cell towers with older network technology such as GSM, cdmaOne, W-CDMA (UMTS), and CDMA2000.

        As seen here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP_Long_Term_Evolution [wikipedia.org]

      • Whether LTE gets deployed to suburban or rural areas I can't say - the bandwidth/latency upgrades probably aren't important there for people outside.

        Actually, they're probably more important. In rural areas, LTE providers don't have much competition from wired Internet providers. My mother lives in rural England and the fastest connection she can get at home is the same speed as the UMTS connection I get from my phone when I visit her house. It's a lot cheaper to upgrade the tower providing UMTS coverage to support LTE than it is to upgrade the wiring running to her 200-year-old house to be able to carry a stronger signal. LTE in cities is also comp

    • LTE is still far into the future. We are currently testing LTE in some sites here in Sweden and it's quite expensive.....Wimax is a good solution until then, if it's rolled out within 2-3 years.

      LTE travels further than WiMax so it doesn't need as many towers. So it should be cheaper. It can also goes through thicker or more dense objects.

      Falcon

  • Now there's a debate.
  • This is a non issue (Score:5, Informative)

    by cybereal (621599) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:01AM (#29475519) Homepage

    Research the technologies, it takes about 20 minutes, and you'll see that LTE and WiMax are nearly identical. Basically WiMax and LTE have different optimization strategies, but they operate on the same band ranges, the same equipment, etc. In nearly all cases, a firmware update could make a WiMax radio into an LTE radio.

    As it is, WiMax is best suited for non-moving targets, or, alternatively, short range cells that would best suit a city with skyscrapers. It's not a big difference but it's there.

    Anyway, clearwire has already made it ... clear... that they could switch to LTE if needed with minimal impact financially or technically, and minor research supports that claim.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Darth Cider (320236)

      I think this is astroturf too. I've seen it in other venues, as well. Business news, speculating about a Sprint bankruptcy. Sprint, propounding that they will back Clearwire if liquidity is a concern. It's all a lot of bullshit market manipulation, and not a Slashdot-worthy tech issue.

    • by dantino (1640631) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @10:25AM (#29476237)
      It's true that the underlying technologies behind LTE and WiMax are nearly identical. However, the telecommunications sector has shown over and over that politics/regulation play a more important role than technology. The main advantage brought forward by WiMax is that it is designed as a full IP solutions. Providers only sell the bandwidth (much like DSL), which is of interest to the final consumer since he make use of any internet application (voip, video conference, gaming, ..). This goes much against the traditional business model of mobile operator in the US. So, even if LTE, make it by 2010 (which I hugely doubt). It will likely be tied to an overpriced features business model (sms, voicemail, called id, etc)
    • Research the technologies, it takes about 20 minutes, and you'll see that LTE and WiMax are nearly identical. Basically WiMax and LTE have different optimization strategies, but they operate on the same band ranges, the same equipment, etc.

      The same band ranges? LTE use the 700MHz band whereas WiMax uses the 2GHz band.

      Falcon

  • LTE will eventually be a combined broadband voice/data solution that can do everything that WiMax can and more

    I thought that, as a species, we had evolved beyond separating voice and data.

    Come on, guys, everything's a number.

    • by MrZilla (682337)

      I thought that, as a species, we had evolved beyond separating voice and data.

      Come on, guys, everything's a number.

      Yes, you are correct.

      However, vendors will keep separating voice and data for the same reason that sending 255 bytes as an SMS is many many orders of magnitude more expensive than sending 255 bytes as raw data.

      In the end, it all comes down to extracting as much money from the end user as is at all possible.

    • Everything may be a number, but the requirements of packets can be very different. For bidirectional voice or video communication, you need relatively low bandwidth, low latency, and low jitter. For downloading a large file, you need high bandwidth and don't care about latency or jitter. For streaming video, you need quite high bandwidth, quite low jitter, and don't care about latency.
      • For bidirectional voice or video communication, you need relatively low bandwidth

        Video is low bandwidth? Isn't video downloads one of the things broadband providers say uses up a lot of bandwidth? Perhaps you meant low resolution video. I thought about getting a webcam for video chats but I don't like their low resolutions.

        Falcon

        • Depends on the video. If you're streaming a movie, it's usually fairly good quality, but, more importantly, lasts a couple of hours. Streaming TV may be on for 4-5 hours per day. Video chats, in contrast, tend not to last so long. They also have lower resolution because they are limited by the upstream bandwidth of both parties (who are typically on consumer-grade connections). As such, they typically limit themselves to 1Mb/s, giving 900MB (total for both directions) of traffic for an hour. Voice tra
          • Well I've downloaded a few movies at most, the longest one was 20 minutes I think. However soon I plan on downloading an ISO of Ubuntu then install software for it. I also hope to be uploading files, mostly photographs, as I want to start a photography business. If I do and I make money at it I'll go ahead and upgrade my service, get a business account. Luckily while I have cable access now, through ComCast which hasn't given me much problems, I can also get DSL. So when it comes tyme to upgrade I can

  • In 80 cities? I mean CITIES? Hey, F the cities, pal, there's all kindza options in the cities. Don't ask me to cry the crocadile tears for those poor schmucks in the cities, get all this crap working out here in the middle of f'n nowhere - then you've got some progress. But having to wait for a connection when traveling between DC and Richmond, or Columbus and Toledo or Findlay? Fergeddaboudit. Cities are easy. Do something significant, and blanket the countryside... then you know you've done someth

  • Wimax is... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dvh.tosomja (1235032)

    Wimax is what ISDN happen to be in 90's

  • In other news, PowerBook G5 next Tuesday.

  • by nadaou (535365) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:36AM (#29475601) Homepage

    The old adage applies: if someone claims they can predict the future, chances are they are trying to sell you something.

  • lol what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:43AM (#29475629)

    assuming 4 billion users

    Can I have some of what that guy's smoking? There is hardly even 4 billion electricity users, let alone 4 billion literate people.

    • Re:lol what? (Score:4, Informative)

      by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @10:29AM (#29476269) Homepage
      I think you may have slept through a few decades. The ITU says 4.1 billion cellphone subscriptions by the end of 2008.

      link [wikipedia.org]

      Well over 4 billion have electricity. [rice.edu]

      The world literacy rate is about 82%: about 5 billion. link [wikipedia.org]
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:01AM (#29475681)
    hey i want a column writing stupid shit and getting paid for it.

    he's clearly never heard of latency or the reliability issues of wireless. then again, he has managed to whore his crap on /. so he can't be all stupid...

    • he's clearly never heard of latency or the reliability issues of wireless.

      And perhaps others haven't heard that some people want mobile broadband and are willing to pay more for it, even if it has problems.

      Falcon

  • WiMax hasn't quite made it out the door yet and now this new wireless tech is "coming out" threatening to take 80% of ... the nothing that is already not being dominated.

    Unquestionably there are problems with wireless technologies, but the most significant are those associated with deployment and adoption.

  • WiMax ..umm right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rytr23 (704409)
    They(Sprint/Clearwire) have been trying to push Wimax for 4g mobile networks forever now and a lot of dummies have bought into it. LTE is going to be the 4g wireless standard. About the only thing Wimax is good for is last mile fixed position connectivity. Which is probably not a bad niche to service. But even Clearwire just said recently that they could easily flip to LTE with just a software push, so even they are hedging their bets.
    • ...a lot of dummies have bought into it.

      The only reason I use Xohm is because I refuse to give any of my money to Comcast or Verizon; I think that's a pretty reasonable decision and does not make me a dummy. That being said, I do get minimum 120ms latencies to anywhere, and that does suck sometimes.

  • by Shaman (1148) <shaman@@@kos...net> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @10:45AM (#29476343) Homepage

    I own an ISP (www.kos.net) which does rural broadband, and we've been very successful at that. Sometimes performance isn't what people expect, but that's to be expected... just not by those people who want unlimited fibre to their cottage. ;)

    WiMax has been shouted from mountaintop to mountaintop for the past six years. And it isn't really being deployed much. Why?

    Let me tell you.

    First of all, WiMax has a range of 10 miles. That's not so bad but in rural installations, it's just barely enough.

    Secondly in many places, WiMax has a max emitted power of 43dbm. In others it has up to 58dbm. Either way, it's not that much power. Further, the wattage is about 15 watts for the CPE equipment and about 200 watts for the base station - but the base station cannot emit 200 watts to a single transmitter by law, so that's just a red herring unless you plan to build out a base station with multiple antennas (good idea for the first build). Many (Redline, Alvarion, Aperto) use 2.3 watts.

    Third, line of sight is a major requirement for WiMax. 802.16d or 802.16e. It is possible to get some non line of sight connections at close range (2 miles) if the conditions are right, but in the end it's a high speed wave (2.3Ghz for the Clearwire + Inukshuk early adopters, 3.4-3.7Ghz for the later adopters like my company). High speed waves have a much higher chance of hitting a particle and stopping than lower speed waves. 400Mhz used for voice and cell data has a much better NLoS capability and 900Mhz radios we use for rural broadband are also quite good, especially at low power levels they are allowed. WiMax does, however, have pretty good NEAR line of sight capabilities, we're finding.

    Fourth, WiMax standards aren't. Rarely will one device interoperate with another vendor's equipment. So those WiMax chips in your Intel laptop? Junk.

    Fifth, performance of WiMax isn't as good as 5.8Ghz access points. That's right. WiMax uses a 5, 7 or 10Mhz channel and while 10Mhz has slightly better throughput, you're not going to see much of that because of antenna spacing and distance characteristics. It's "54Mbps" rating per base antenna ($5,000 U.S. per + antenna) works out to 23Mbps aggregate at a 50% RX/TX spacing, which means 10.5Mbps in either direction.... although some companies are talking about a 75TX/25RX percentage split in upcoming firmware. In any case, it's not a panacea, and yes that bandwidth is shared between up to 200 people per base station.

    Sixth, WiMax gear is really expensive. Everything about it is expensive, from base stations to subscriber modules, to tower placement, to purchasing licenses for transmitting.

    Seventh, because it's licensed and it is a high-speed wave, it's mostly useless except to rural customers. Not to mention that nobody wants 15 watts of emitted power on their crotch.

    Eigth, you will need to register your transmitter with Industry Canada or the FCC in the States. Maybe both. Not only is this fairly complex to do unless you're a service provider, you may find yourself having to bid on spectrum or with the 3.65Ghz band, you may be told that another transmitter is too near to you and you'll have to coordinate with that operator.

    So. That's WiMax. It's not much good to most people, it has limited abilities to provide rural service (only better than 2.4Ghz WiFi because it's got more output power and has a licensed clean channel), it's really expensive, it's not fast enough and it's got complex licensing.

    Why are we using it? We are desperately in need of another frequency, since we have filled many of our 900Mhz radios and the 5.8Ghz radios are not good for rural use at all (no near or non line of sight ability). 2.4Ghz is a dirty frequency with a lot of operators and power-company "smart meters" in it (that's a stupidity of a whole other level that needs a whole other discussion). So, it's WiMax.

    BTW, those thinking city-wide WiFi is cool should do a little study on why it's not workable. I

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I fully agree, I work for a business isp up here in canada that has a wimax product that we position at 3mbps x 640kbps iirc and we have nothing but trouble with it. Some of that is our horrible management tool which is unrelated to the tech, but the modems that we use are junk (but still cost 300$ a pop). Our towers can barely support 30 or so subscribers before users suffer performance issues. It suffers from tower hopping when in close proximity to multiple strong towers (unlike cell phones, wimax doe

    • by ipb (569735)

      I've had Clearwire service for something lilke three years now, Speeds were good, reliability the same, and I''ve anxiously awaited the deployment of WiMax.

      Now that I have it, it doesn't work at all.

      The old system gave me 2-3 bars of signal from a site about 5 miles away, WiMax gives me nothing.
      There's a new site only ten blocks away, and from it I get nothing unless I put the modem ten feet above my roof (I taped it to a pole to test)

      Clear's recommendation?
      Find a way to permanently mount my modem above th

    • by strstr (539330)

      "which means 10.5Mbps in either direction"

      Wrong! Sprint 4G users currently getting 16Mbps down and 6Mbps up.

      See for yourself [howardforums.com].

      • by Shaman (1148)

        Time spacing is different. However, don't confuse "AIR SPEED" with "ACTUAL SPEED." I'm talking actual speed.

        AIR SPEED is what the manufacturers like to use to describe their product, and there is a roughly 50% overhead for error correction, signalling and encryption.

        802.11g is much the same.

  • by jav1231 (539129)
    An interesting note that the OP is talking about what LTE WILL do compared to what WiMax is DOING! Bird in the hand, People.
    • An interesting note that the OP is talking about what LTE WILL do compared to what WiMax is DOING!

      How many providers offer WiMax? In Minneapolis, St Paul [bbwexchange.com] we have 4 broadband wireless providers. Of them 3 use EV-DO and the other uses EDGE.

      Falcon

  • I was about to rip on TFA for being poorly informed and very out of date, then I re-read the top:

    By Matt Hamblen
    May 14, 2008 12:00 PM ET

    Good job submitting a link that's over a year old CWmike, did you have to use the wayback machine to find that?

  • - Only ONE of all the users can have the maximum speed in the same area. If others use it too, it drops. Which for thousands of users can easily mean a very crappy bandwidth.
    - Everyone can access and potentially crack it, without having physical access.
    - General pointlessness to replace the wired connection of stationary devices with it because... [HYPEHYPEHYPEHYPESCREAMHYPEBLINGHYPEHYPEHYPE]

    For mobile devices it's OK when well encrypted, because you've got no choice. But if you can use cables, their bandwi

    • by Shaman (1148)

      You can't get thousands of users on a single base station. 200 is really, really stretching it. If you have 25Mhz of bandwidth with your license, that typically means a top of four base stations per tower, and you have to be very careful how you place your towers and aim your antennas so that you don't self-interfere with your other towers.

      Redline claims 500 users per base station and Solectek claims 1024. Both total crap. 500 users @ 64Kbps or 1024 users at 28.8Kbps really is useless in any real-world a

  • WiMAX is optimized for single-frequency (time division duplex) use. It works on single channels in the 2.3, 3.65 or 2.6 GHz bands, for instance. Clearwire has lots of 2.6 licenses.

    LTE is optimized for dual-frequency (frequency division duplex) use, as are cell phones. It will eventually replace TDMA (GSM) and CDMA. It will initially coexist with them; the carriers will roll out LTE on some frequencies while preserving their legacy digital networks. This is sort of how the analog-digital transition (and

    • LTE (E-UTRA, specifically) supports both TDD and FDD.

      My current belief is that current incumbent mobile providers (excluding Sprint) will deploy LTE, while new entrants will deploy WiMAX. LTE is more expensive, but includes interoperability with the GSM family (GSM/UMTS) and the CDMA2000 family - that makes it more valuable for providers who have large existing networks.

      The incumbent providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) already offer full Internet access, although it has low transfer caps (5GB).

  • will matter to someone!

    and then I can complete my planes to.....take over the WORLD!!!!

    muhahahahaha

  • Here in Baltimore we've had WiMax for well over a year. I've been running WiMax via XOHM both on my laptops as well as a secondary/redundant connection at home using XOHM's Pick Two plan. I get consistently respectable speeds (3-5M Down, ~1M up). The biggest hurdle right now is that coverage quickly goes from dense in the city itself, to moderate in the more populated suburbs such as in Columbia, to non-existent the further you get from the city.

    When it works, it works wonderfully and I'm glad I have it, es

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