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Rivals in the High-Speed Wireless Space

With Intel, Apple and everyone else wanting to put the Internet in your pocket, the demand is getting hot for viable broadband speed wireless Internet access. There has been a lot in the news lately about WiMAX, which I’ve been involved with and following for the last couple of years. Its primary competitor is based on the legacy telco standard, LTE (short for Long Term Evolution). Display Daily had a great overview of the two rivals as well as a good analysis of the market view of each.

Fundamentally, WiMAX was borne from the computer industry. The WiMAX Forum standards board does testing and certification for the established standard. From the WiMAX Forum page:

WiMAX is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to wired broadband like cable and DSL. WiMAX provides fixed , nomadic, portable and, soon, mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station. In a typical cell radius deployment of three to ten kilometers, WiMAX Forum Certifiedâ„¢ systems can be expected to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps per channel, for fixed and portable access applications.

And then there is LTE. From Display Daily:

LTE is a telecom-centric project. It is not a standard yet, but it is expected to mold the new release 8 of the UMTS IP-based standard. LTE’s overriding characteristic is many telco layers and proprietary protocols (see data flow image.) Want more details? Well, get ready because this gets a bit convoluted as acronyms become nested in yet more acronyms. LTE is a variant of the 3GPP (or third generation partnership project) to improve the UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system). This is done via a evolved E-UTRAN, that stands for E (evolved) U (UMTS) TRAN (Terrestrial Radio Access Network) that itself is a collective term for the Node B’s (or base transceiver station), a part of the WCDMA air transport technology (I’m not making this up). There is much more to this like the RNC, short for Radio Network Controller, and the governing elements (base stations) in the UMTS radio access network.

I’m already longing for the simplicity of a WiMAX install. I’ll admit that I’m biased – I’ve seen how well WiMAX can work. I’m also eager for this kind of capability, and it looks like WiMAX is a good 2-3 years ahead of LTE in possible deployment.

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