WiMax is set to dominate as the cost-effective wireless access solution of choice in the developing world.
Rick Rogers, director of Alvarion, says that more and more people are demanding high-speed Internet services. Deploying wireline access networks such as DSL or cable modem involves relatively high investment costs and results in limited or insufficient coverage by wireline infrastructures with limited capacity.
This is leading the search for an alternative solution and, more specifically, the proliferation of broadband wireless access networks – and WiMax is coming into its own.
In June 2008 the WiMax Forum announced the completion of the first round of Mobile WiMAX Wave II certification for base stations and devices in the 2.5GHz frequency band. Alvarion was one the first three vendors with commercially-available base stations to receive certification, along with seven device manufacturers.
WiMAX is targeting two markets: primary broadband services and personal broadband, Rogers says. The primary broadband and voice services market targets rural/remote areas in both the developing world and developed areas.
For rural/remote areas, considered less economical by providers to offer broadband and voice services, WiMax offers an excellent solution to bridge the digital divide.
For developed areas, WiMax offers an alternative to DSL, allowing operators to ultimately offer fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) of networks and services.
For the personal broadband market, WiMax is targeting more densely-populated areas such as metro centres and suburbs, providing the opportunity to mobilise broadband connections by offering a DSL-on-the-go service, complete with mobility, handover and roaming services.
"In emerging markets, the lack of a developed communications infrastructure is dramatically reducing the ability of achieving or strengthening economic development, improving social well being and enhancing personal communications," says Rogers.
"With broadband access services, local populations may be empowered with communication capabilities which provide the information to strengthen social, economical, educational, and health trends. In the emerging markets, where little infrastructure is available yet economies are growing, WiMax-based communications networks can promote equal opportunity communications."