Could the next generation of WiMax, the long-anticipated 1Gbps version, be the catalyst whereby cellular and WiMax protocols converge?
Sceptics aren't convinced, but the IEEE expects to have the 802.16m standard ready during 2009 and hopes to win 4G status as well.
The new standard will use the current OFDM and MIMO technologies, which are already used to achieve Gigabit wireless speeds, according to a report in Techworld.
It will also be backwards-compatible with the current mobile WiMax standard, 802.16e, and will also be suitable for fixed as well as mobile links.
The IEEE says it wants to develop a "competitive" and "significantly improved" radio access technology that is "compliant with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) R/IMT advanced requirements for 4G" while maintaining interoperability with mobile WiMax.
WiMax could have difficult gaining acceptance in the telecommunications world, though. The main hurdle in the converged standard may be in getting all the standards and industry bodies involved to agree. These include the IEEE, responsible for WiMax, the ITU, which looks after telecommunications standards, and the 3GPP group, with represents operators.infrastructures.
For South African's, the arguments could be academic as our own WiMax trials show no signs of bringing the service to market.