WorldMax has launched Europe's first mobile WiMax deployment, covering the centre of Amsterdam so that coffee-shop dwellers can surf the web without puzzling over plugs and wires, once they've got their PC-card connected. The deployment, which is being run by Alcatel-Lucent and part-financed by Intel, is operating in 80MHz of …
Not necessary. I've been using HSDPA for about 2 months now. Speed is good, coverage is pretty much anywhere you get a mobile phone signal, and its cheap...I have a pay as you go, and 15 quid gets you 3 gigs over 30 days no contract.
Fair enough they are using 4000 sites at 900/1800 - but how many of those are street level or micro installs ? The issues you'll see with WiMax are going to require a higher level of nodes probably at street level to compensate for the loss and lack of penetration at 3.5GHz, but on the other hand your not really having to worry so much about the interoperability and mobility as you would on a fully deployed GSM/UMTS/HS*PA network.
More to making this work than Wimax hardware...
In order to make this kind of thing work in the real world, you need more than hardware (base station and laptop). You need (for example) a co-operating network operator with a clue, and with money. Intel can help with the money - in the UK they funded Pipex Wireless's WiMax network , but whether Pipex Wireless had a clue remains to be seen, and in the UK the network was set up for fixed access. Countrywide roaming isn't quite the same as fixed access.
Probability of success: 0-30%.
Meanwhile, the UK's "main" (or mainly invisible since 2003) fixed wireless broadband access operator, PCCW or Now! or whatever they're called this week, were recently granted permission for roaming using their existing (but mainly invisible) 3.5GHz network  What they don't have afaik is Intel money, or a service in 90%+ of the UK.
Probability of success: 0-5%
The standard is 802.16e. 802.11x being the standard for WiFi
Spanish WiMax works.....
I've had a WiMax connection here in Catalunia since last summer and it works well, constantly at or even above the bandwidth I signed up for (which you can't say for Telefonica's copper-wire broadband.) There are occasional weather-related drops in connectivity but I'm 15kms from the tower, so can't complain.
It doesn't matter how good the technology is, 3.5GHz is NOT suitable at all for mobile use.
It's too near LOS and very poor building penetration.
Easily blocked by every truck, tree and building.
Even 3G at 2.1 is much poorer than 900MHz GSM for coverage.
This will be an epic fail, tarnishing an oversold but quite good technology.
I wouldn't be so sure with this need of more stations (nodes) - don't forget that WiMax is strongly NLOS which may compensate worse propagation at higher frequencies.
I think you mean 802.16e don't you? Otherwise your comments are correct re the number of base stations, in-building penetration and usage. Another factor is the cost of Mobile Wimax CPE/USB dongles etc - still expensive and littel choice.
Theory vs. real-life
The indoor coverage, even within the Amsterdam city-ring, is very poor and they admit it. Their opening-offer is a bargain so I decided to give it a go for a month and will let you know who was right in the discussion above (frequencies, coverage, indoor, outdoor, etc, etc).
Aerea WiMax in real life
I am one of the early birds on the WorldMax network in Amsterdam. I wasn't expecting much since they openly state they are still working hard on the coverage. This weekend I received my Wimax PCMCIA card; installation was smooth and I was online within 10 minutes. On their website I checked the coverage and for my location they stated the coverage would only be available outdoors. Currently I am sitting indoors (near the window tho) and my connection has been stable for an hour now. Downloads are around 1mbit/sec (60 - 120 kB/s), uploads are a bit disappointing only hitting 5 kB/s. Ping times are acceptable for almost anything (except gaming, and slow on SSH). For the record I ran a speedtest as well: http://www.speedtest.net/result/286988520.png .
I also took the laptop for a walk and I must say it is all working pretty smooth. True mobile working outdoors, indoors the coverage is acceptable as long as you don't go to far in the building (i prefer a window seat anyway :-)). I will try a download&drive session as well, see if the hand-overs are going smooth and download continues while cruising in town.