Print 10 comment(s) - last by Klober.. on Jun 20 at 3:44 PM

WiMAX connectivity is coming to devices other than the cell phone and laptop

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced during his keynote at NXTcomm08 that Sprint would finally be rolling out its first commercial WiMAX market launch in Baltimore this September.

Sprint has two trial markets operating on its WiMAX network in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.  The networks in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Chicago were all deployed last year, but TelephonyOnline reports that so far in the two operating trial areas in Washington, D.C. and Chicago were only open to  employees.

WiMAX service in the Washington, D.C. and Chicago areas will also be opened to commercial markets this fall. Sprint’s plans for its WiMAX network have hit hard times as low profits and rising costs for deploying the networks along with key employee changes -- including Dan Hesse himself replacing former Sprint CEO Gary Forsee -- conspiring to delay the service repeatedly.

Much of the keynote was devoted to Sprint’s 4G plans and Sprint says that it intends to take WiMAX beyond the cell phone and notebook computer user. Sprint is looking to the embedded chip model to put WiMAX access and connectivity into all sorts of devices including navigation devices, MP3 players, digital cameras and the network of sensors and meters maintained by vertical industries.

Hesse said, “Consumers still can’t seem to get enough data. WiMAX can deliver blazing fast speeds to all manner of devices, not just cell phones. The embedded chip model allows us to break free of wireless cell phone group think.”

Sprint still sees WiMAX as being superior to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology that is favored by AT&T and Verizon. This superiority is almost exclusively tied to the fact that WiMAX will be in the market for several years before LTE appears.

Nortel announced recently that it would not support WiMAX at all and would instead focus its development efforts on LTE equipment for Verizon and AT&T citing that LTE is the most popular technology.

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Most Important Thing
By pauldovi on 6/19/2008 12:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
It is how they manage the subscriptions. No contracts, no limited bandwidth.

RE: Most Important Thing
By amanojaku on 6/19/2008 12:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. If cell carriers have phone contracts it's likely there will be data contracts, as well. Some companies are getting rid of contracts, however. As for bandwidth, that's always limited because technically there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth. You're talking about monthly transfer rates which everyone likes to cap, although companies here and there are changing that, too. WiMAX (70Mbits d/u) can't hold a candle to LTE (326.4Mbits d /86.4Mbits u) in terms of bandwidth, so it will be interesting to see how each adopter handles caps.

What's most important is coverage, service quality (speed, the ability to connect and infrequent disconnects) within the coverage area and pricing to match the first two.

RE: Most Important Thing
By kenferg1 on 6/19/2008 5:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think there are two factors that will be a push-pull for this technology.

1. The "now" factor of having 70Mbs today. What a boon for outlying areas that do not have access to high speed. Especially for fringe areas that DSL, FiO, or cable do not serve.

2. The fact that Sprint is offering the service. I have not had Sprint service, but from what I understand it is marginal at best.

For many the "now" factor will be enough reason to try it. For others service factors, including customer service, will be the issue.

RE: Most Important Thing
By ksherman on 6/20/2008 9:44:00 AM , Rating: 2
70Mbps is way way way faster than anything offered in my area. And I am not exactly in the 'fringe' areas being in the suburbs of Chicago. I would like 70Mbps for my house!

RE: Most Important Thing
By Klober on 6/20/2008 11:57:10 AM , Rating: 3
I have an intimate knowledge of the WiMAX that Sprint is implementing through XOHM, and I'd like to point out a few areas where you're assumptions are incorrect.

First, XOHM is not connected to any cell service, it is its own entity. XOHM will not be available to only Sprint customers, but AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile or whoever includes a WiMAX chip in their phone. As long as you have a system (which could mean a variety of devices - cell phone, PC/laptop, digital camera, digital video camera, PDAs without phone capability, pretty much anything that can take advantage of a network/Internet access which goes way beyond what we currently have capable of interfacing with a network) with a WiMAX chip you will be be to get access to the XOHM network.

While, yes, there's technically no such thing as "unlimited" bandwidth (only because of transfer rate limitations), XOHM will not have a Fair Access Policy (FAP) which will limit you to a certain bandwidth cap per month. Download as much as you like, they won't be kicking you back to 56kbps or charging you extra because of it.

While the theoretical maximum bandwidth of WiMAX and LTE are approximately what you quoted, neither technology will ever see that maximum in practical use. For both technologies that maximum bandwidth is only available when you're nearly right next to the tower. The farther you get from the tower the lower the speed gets, out to the maximum distance - compare this part with DSL. WiMAX's proposed speed is 2-4Mbps down and 1-3Mbps up, although some testers are seeing as high as 10+Mbps down. Basically, you can expect approximately cable Internet speeds.

While XOHM is still in the testing phase before rollout, and everything hasn't been finalized, I can provide a bit of insight into your most important factors: each and every aspect is being thoroughly tested so as to launch with the highest possible service quality and coverage in the rollout markets. As for the pricing, while the rates have not yet been fully decided, there will be several different possible plans (I can't say what they will be, but I can say they will be the some of the most flexible data plans seen to date), all of which will be priced very competitively. XOHM wants the launch to be PERFECT , without exception. They realize that the buzz is out about LTE and because of that some people will be a bit hesitant and may want to wait for LTE, and XOHM is going to do everything possible to raise the public's faith and create their own buzz based on actual experience. LTE won't be out for several years to come and, in my personal opinion, anyone who decides to wait on XOHM is only hurting themselves.

As a side note, I've been waiting on WiMAX for the past 5 years or so - ever since the IEEE started coming out with information on the specification. Since I first heard about it I've seen it, and its successors, as the way of the future. Why spend the money on installation and maintenance of wired networks when it can be done wirelessly, for less cost AND available on the go.

RE: Most Important Thing
By sxr7171 on 6/20/2008 3:08:30 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you I wish I read your post so I wouldn't had to write mine. There is a post on WiMax nearly every day and people still don't get it. I was even called "dumb" for wanting to pay for both WiMax and 3G/4G cellular data. They are different. I want that N810 WiMax tablet ASAP!

RE: Most Important Thing
By Klober on 6/20/2008 3:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
I've gotten to play with one for a bit and the Nokia N810 is a very nice device. Many already know this, but for those who don't, while the N810 seems a lot like a smartphone looking at it, it's not. The N810 has no cell phone capability - you cannot call someone or receive calls on it, nor can you text. The N810 is simply (and I use that as a relative term) an advanced Internet device with a high resolution touchscreen. It's able to surf the web, play games, and instant message, among many other things.

As a side note, if anyone actually has an N810, I highly recommend putting a MiniSD card (or MicroSD in a MiniSD adapter) in and telling the N810 to use part of the SD as virtual memory. It increases the stability and the speed of your N810 since it supplements the small amount of memory built into the device.

RE: Most Important Thing
By sxr7171 on 6/20/2008 3:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why is that people don't understand the point of WiMax? It has NOTHING to do with cell phones (unless your cell phone is equipped with WiMax). Get that out of your head.

There is no equipment that the carrier has subsidize for you. Just buy your laptop, internet tablet, GPS whatever that has WiMax and buy your service for it. That's it.

Why everyone just assumes that it will be sold like cell phone service just because a cell phone provider has partnered with another firm to offer it is beyond me. How many times does it have to be said before people get it?

It has also been said that pricing will be variable with day passes, hourly passes and monthly subscriptions. You may be offered a discount for committing to certain amount of time, but cable companies do that also.

In fact just so that I don't to read another stupid comment about WiMax and how it is tied to cell phones or how cellular service is sold, just think of it as a cable modem only wireless.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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