WiMax and Wi-Fi: Better Together

Carl Weinschenk

While many people debate, prognosticate and otherwise wonder how WiMax will do against cellular and wired technologies, there is an even more basic question that hasn't been fully answered: What will its relationship with Wi-Fi be?

 

There probably will be limited outright competition. Though Wi-Fi and WiMax are both broadband technologies, the overlap is not too great. WiMax has greater throughput and covers a much larger area.

 

The signs suggest that cooperation will be close. Last week, Wi-Fi Planet ran this piece, based on an announcement earlier this month by NextWave Wireless. The vendor's NW2000 is an integrated WiMax/Wi-Fi chipset that seamlessly switches between the two platforms. That's not all: Customers can lease WiMax spectrum the vendor controls in the United States and some European countries.

 

This isn't the first hybrid chipset. Late last year, Intel introduced the "design completion" of the WiMax Connection 2300. The chipset supports mobile WiMax, 802.11n Wi-Fi and high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) 3G.

 

There will be cooperation between the two platforms at the network level as well. In this Q & A in WiMax.com, Scott Richardson, Clearwire's chief strategy officer, said that the provider will roll out WiMax/Wi-Fi hybid "host spots" in Grand Rapids, Mich. That's a big deal: Clearwire is the leading wireless broadband company with more than 250,000 customers in 38 states. It uses a WiMax-like platform and has plans to migrate to mobile WiMax when the platform is ready.


 

Plans to market combined platforms aren't hard to find. Last month, Incognito Software and Lindsay Broadband said they are partnering in such an initiative, with the former supplying the network gear and the latter the customer premise equipment activation technology. It is unclear from the story, however, precisely how deeply integrated the WiMax and Wi-Fi elements are.

 

This Unstrung story says that Sprint -- which said that it will widely roll out WiMax technology beginning at the end of this year and continuing through 2008 -- may use small Wi-Fi installations to improve its indoor coverage capabilities.

 

Even before WiMax deployments are in full swing, cooperation clearly is occurring at both the chipset and networking levels. To quote Captain Renault in "Casablanca," it could be "the beginning of a beautiful friendship."



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 28, 2007 2:52 AM jackshawky jackshawky  says:
hi info mang cc intrested delegates if any body have cheap gear to export to egypt email me back intrested in the compilation of both wi max and wi fi , as it is the future of the world , this is the right approach to deal with only technical guys need to reply as we will discuss the gear specs rgsd eng jack ah computer inc 30 new maadi cairo egypt eng ahmed shawky reply email--->>ahcom@myraya.nettel 00202 25200506mob 2 010 627 4611http://ld.net/?shawkywww.shawkycomputers.co.aemicrosoft certfied serial no 132569 -mcsa Wi-Fi and WiMax are both broadband technologies, the overlap is not too great. WiMax has greater throughput and covers a much larger area. So what will their relationship be? The signs suggest that cooperation will be close. For example, NextWave Wireless' NW2000 is an integrated WiMax/Wi-Fi chipset that seamlessly switches between the two platforms. That's not all: Customers can lease WiMax spectrum the vendor controls in the United States and some European countries. There will be cooperation between the two platforms at the network level as well. Clearwire's chief strategy officer said the provider will roll out WiMax/Wi-Fi hybid "host spots" in Grand Rapids, Mich. That's a big deal: Clearwire is the leading wireless broadband company with more than 250,000 customers in 38 states. It uses a WiMax-like platform and has plans to migrate to mobile WiMax when the platform is ready Reply

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