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WiMax Faces Renewed Competition: Study

While WiMax has the strong backing of Intel, the study noted that another type of wireless broadband, FLASH-OFDM, is now owned by Qualcomm and is based on another standard.

InformationWeek Staff

January 24, 2006

1 Min Read

The recent first wave of certifications for WiMAX products is a milestone, but that specific type of wireless broadband faces a serious challenge from a type of wireless broadband supported by Qualcomm, a study by ABI Research claimed Tuesday.

The first handful of WiMAX products were officially certified last week and many more product certifications are in the pipeline, Philip Solis, a senior analyst for the research firm said in a statement.

"This is a major milestone," Solis said. As more products are certified, an increasing number of wireless ISPs will start deploying the wireless broadband technology, he said. He also noted a large number of pre-standard WiMAX deployments are already in place or are being put into place.

However, while WiMAX, based on the 802.16 standard, has the strong backing of Intel, Solis noted that other types also could succeed. Specifically, Qualcomm just completed acquisition of Flarion Technologies, developers of FLASH-OFDM and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access (OFDMA) technology, which are based on the 802.20 standard.

"Qualcomm will almost certainly attempt to rally support from other industry participants, but many companies had abandoned 802.20 to support 802.16e," Solis noted. He noted that the acquisition of Flarion by Qualcomm gives FLASH-OFDM what he called "a new lease on life."

The study did not discuss the role of IPWireless' UMTS TDD, a third wireless broadband technology. Sprint Nextel is field testing that technology and recently increased is investment in IPWireless.

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