Broadband Wireless Access

Potential for mobile WiMAX & alternative BWA technologies

  • IEEE 802.16
  • WiMAX
  • IEEE 802.20
  • iBurst

There are many signs of a renewed interest in Broadband Wireless Access technologies: the much-discussed Sprint/Nextel decision to select mobile WiMAX for its 2.5 GHz network, carriers taking a careful look at the advanced Korean market, and the huge sums reached at recent spectrum auctions.

Broadband wireless access technologies indeed stand to benefit from many factors:

  • Broadband is going mass market
  • Consumers are increasingly mobile
  • Mobile telephony leads the telecommunications market
  • Data services represent an increasing share of total mobile ARPU
  • Growing network capacity needs and the debate over net neutrality are giving alternative access technologies a boost
  • Laptop computer sales are rising, while PDAs and mobile handsets are evolving towards smarter and more powerful devices integrating PC-like functionalities.

Spectrum availability and quality is another critical issue, and often the chief constraint that players have to contend with. It impacts coverage, quality of services and deployment costs. Emergent wireless technologies, able to provide broadband data rates and support mobility, can be seen as complementary solutions as well as potential threats to both mobile and fixed networks operators. It is nonetheless our view that BWA networks that provide a complement to fixed or cellular networks make a stronger business case.

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