back to article WiMAX Forum begs for speedy spectrum release

The WiMAX Forum has called for speedy disposal of the UK's allocated TDD spectrum, so it can take advantage of the standard's ever-decreasing technical lead. Digital Britain calls for 50MHz of spectrum at 2.57GHz to be effectively earmarked for WiMAX, but that plan releases the spectrum as part of the Digital Dividend mega- …


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I sincerely hope...

...that sanity wins here (but when has it ever in the past) and the faster and more future proofed technology is favoured over the other - I don't believe the relevant groups should press forward with their tech if the other is actually recognisably more beneficial to the end user.

Consider, though, the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray thing. That was less clear cut because the two technologies were just about on a par with each other, and competition was good. Isn't it true that WiMax and LTE are worlds apart from each other and one is identifiably superior (save mabye for cost)?

I don't claim to know anything about the two standards, but all over it appears that LTE is superior, maybe a little more expensive over the competition but is better future proofed, because it starts off with better bandwidth than WiMax (am I right?).

Its high time that Britain took the lead here and put in the better technology and put it in place fast, and not waste time and money pursuing both.


There is one caveat though - wasn't there the possibility that WiMax could be ran not by the mobile telephony companies, but by anybody, similar to how WiFi works but over a longer range? I think its damaging that the mobile companies essentially hijack something that the common man can put into place, without having to pay out to the already bloated mob companies another monthly rate for '4G'. Aren't the airwave freqs required for WiMax on the open free-for-all frequencies?


3G fail

So why was the 3G TDD spectrum never used? The big mobile operators paid gigabucks for the spectrum, which came bundled with their FDD allocation. Was it simply a case of the 3G standards process not delivering a network architecture that anyone could make money with?

Bronze badge

Correct me if I'm wrong:

But didn't they test WiMAX here in Australia on and off for some time, all tests resulting in some variation of "abysmal"?

Why are they still pushing it (even here)?

Flogging a dead horse comes to mind, but it appears lots of people think they can make some money out of all those dead horsies.


OK... I Know That I've..

..been spouting off for a long time about spectrum, especially the 700 block.

Let a consortium of chip and radio manufacturers buy the spectrum, and agree on an interoperable, GPS-ROUTED, self forming mesh standard, with on chip details like First Responder Priority. This was Google's vision, but they tried to sell it to the carriers instead of Hardware Makers. The last mile is not free, you merely need to buy a radio to tap in, and there may be a small cost in DC* consumption.

For first responders, only a self building mesh can scale exponentially and heal around any disaster.

CISCO (AFAIK) was the first to manufacture into the geographically routed model, and notably at the highest end of information flow. As the number of nodes on the global network climbs, the overhead of managing and maintaining routing tables consumes resources.

Let Any Provider or Content owner offer access from this GeoCloud. Right i can sell a 7M DSL connection for $19.95** a month, but QWEST bills an extra $35 or so onto your phone bill. So the comparison is $350 a year or one-time $150 for a mesh modem.

Just another option, if you like it, go do it, ill be sipping my 211.

* Keep Battery and outdoor connections at 24 volts. 48 volt systems may be ok in dry clean places like a phone switch, in real life, grime and moisture create leakage paths. Meanwhile, DC power also requires special care due to electrolytic action and arcing.

**Or $20 for those of you that hate fake prices.


I think your "facts" are off the mark!


Not sure where you got your info for this story from, but I feel compelled to challenge the "facts". There are three places where you are wildly off the mark.

1) LTE will be cheaper than WiMAX.

WiMAX is already being produced at scale and millions of devices have been created and sold. Major network deployments are underway across the globe and their are hundreds of products to choose from (from outdoor terminals, to Indoor modems, to USB sticks and even handsets). The economies of scale have already kicked in and in some markets WiMAX USB modems are selling for less than $50 (33 pounds) without ANY subsidy. LTE is fundamentally a handset technology and the chipsets that underpin it are designed to power very high performance smart phones (which include 2G/3G and 4G). Digital britain is about getting low cost broadband to the masses and to deprived rural areas which won't happen by giving people a smartphone. To deliver a fixed broadband service you need a different type of device. LTE will never have economies of scale in the type of devices we need for Digital Britain and for deployment in rural areas so you can always get 2Mbit/s (or more).

2) WiMAX has a marginal lead over LTE

Today's WiMAX has been a commercial reality for more than 18 months, and you can order a Laptop with WiMAX inside straight from Dell's Web Site (at least in the US). The WIMAX Forum has already certified hundreds of devices (at least 25 laptops). 3GPP hasn't even created the certification program for similar LTE devices yet. The marginal lead is probably 2-3 years (which for Digital Britain and the 2012 objective is pretty significant).

3) WiMAX can't match LTE and is only slightly better than 3G

The capacity of a WiMAX Base Station (based on the IEEE 802.16-2009) standard is within 5% of the capacity of an LTE Base Station (based on the March 2009 version of Release 8.0). LTE is not faster than WiMAX, the technologies are almost identical (in fact we can support both standards from the same hardware). LTE and WiMAX are both much faster than today's HSPA+ delivering around 1.5 bit/s for every Hertz used (vs. 0.8 for HSPA+ and 0.5 for HSPA). The roadmaps for LTE and WiMAX increase this advantage over time (which is why these technologies will become 4G standards) and why WiMAX and LTE will supersede 3G (once operators have recouped their investment in 3G rollout).

Paul Senior

CTO - Airspan Networks

We make WiMAX and LTE Base Stations!

Anonymous Coward

Nice to see you Mr Airspan

Nice to see you, Mr Airspan.

Here in the UK, Intel-funded Pipex Wireless changed its name to Freedom4 and launched its Wimax-based broadband service in Milton Keynes, Warwick, and Manchester, back in 2007.


Here we are, a little while later, and according to Freedom4's website, in 2010 you can now get their WiMax service in: Milton Keynes, Warwick, and Manchester.

So, three years have passed, and despite the excellent story you have to tell, and despite the oodles of dosh presumably available from Intel Capital, there's been no noticeable growth in Freedom4's coverage area. Should that tell readers anything?

You can order a WiMax card in a Dell PC in some parts of the world, can you? And who's driving those? Dell's primary design partner, Intel, (again) perhaps?

What gives? Round here, it certainly doesn't look like "Today's WiMAX has been a commercial reality for more than 18 months". And as for the idea of WiMax being used to deliver rural broadband: I'll believe it when I see it. It takes more than technology for that to happen.

"WiMAX and LTE will supersede 3G (once operators have recouped their investment in 3G rollout)."

And when are you expecting UK operators to recoup their investment in 3G rollout? In the UK, it'll be decades before they even recoup the cost of the 3G licences, never mind the cost of the 3G infrastructure. Even if the idiots that paid those clearly-silly prices are no longer in charge, the debt lives on beyond them.

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