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WiMax Not The Chosen One?
Hot on the heels of <a href="http://www.mobiletechnews.com/info/2007/02/08/162147.html">Sprint's announcement</a> that Washington, D.C., and Baltimore will be the first U.S. metro areas to get WiMax networks, a <a href="http://www.mobiletechnews.com/info/2007/02/08/171816.html">new report</a> says HSPA will be much more widely deployed across the globe.
February 9, 2007
2 Min Read
Hot on the heels of Sprint's announcement that Washington, D.C., and Baltimore will be the first U.S. metro areas to get WiMax networks, a new report says HSPA will be much more widely deployed across the globe.According to a report by Arthur D. Little, WiMax will only see 10% to 15% penetration of global high-speed networks, with high-speed packet access basically dwarfing it in the size and number of deployments (there already are 93 commercial HSPA networks deployed). Are Sprint and technology parter Samsung wasting their money?
Theoretically speaking, WiMax should kick HSPA's tail. With peak data transfer rates reaching 16.8 Mbps, HSPA's measly 2 to 3 Mbps speeds just don't compare. When you factor in coverage, though, things start to get murky. With non-line-of-sight, WiMax cells typically have a radius of 5 or 6 miles. HSPA comes in between 6 miles and 21 miles, depending on the terrain and amount of urbanization.
The significance of those numbers is apparent when you start to consider capital expenditures to cover a similar geography. The number of WiMax cells it will take to equal the same coverage provided by HSPA is obviously going to be higher, as will be the capex, or capital expenditures.
It's with these basic concepts in mind that Arthur D. Little calls WiMax a niche technology. The HSPA technology evolution makes sense from the 3G network operators' prospective. Upgrading to HSPA is often a software plug-in or network card upgrade to their already-up-and-running WCDMA/UMTS networks.
While WiMax may or may not be the Holy Grail of wireless data, it should still enjoy modest success, especially as an enabler of consumer electronics technology. All we can do at this point is keep our eyes on the future and see how well Sprint and Samsung's networks in D.C. and Baltimore are received.
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