Summary of WiMAX Benefits
Inherent Benefits of Mobile WiMAX Technology
WiMAX is an adopted global standard for low-cost, high-performance wireless broadband networks. One of the main goals of WiMAX is to make high-quality, long-range data and voice communications affordable. This Next Generation technology platform offers several improvements in the operation of wireless broadband access networks.
Coverage and Range: The maximum cell radius for a WiFi network is an eighth to a quarter of a mile. The range of WiMAX is three to five miles from the antenna, depending on the frequency and topography. This wider coverage for WiMAX means that more customers can be connected to the network with at a lower cost. With a lower investment in infrastructure, it is now possible to profitably serve rural areas with lower population densities, as well as economically depressed areas in cities with lower broadband adoption rates. WiMAX is designed to serve entire communities, a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), as municipal Wi-Fi, which uses unlicensed spectrum, failed to do. For rural areas, the current range of WiMAX networks is comparable to mobile phones.
Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Service: Many 3G mobile phones and radio devices require a line-of-sight (LOS) connection between the access point and user’s modem. Mobile WiMAX standard features a 256 carrier OFDM technology which significantly enhances the NLOS capabilities of the radio. This allows the operator to support more customers per cell site due to better signal penetration.
Higher Data Rates: WiMax is able to achieve download speeds ranging up to 6 Megabits per second for fixed residential service and up to 4 Mbps for mobile users. Residential WiMAX is able to achieve a higher data rate because it has a longer antenna. In the future, WiMAX data rates will be able to be increased by decreasing cell size in more populus areas, thereby giving users multiple access points.
Interoperability Advantage: WiMAX represents a shift in strategy for designing and operating wireless broadband data networks. WiMAX compliant devices from different device manufacturers will be able to operate on the same network. This increases the viability and decreases the risk with deploying wireless broadband networks.
Improved Quality of Service (QoS): The improved Quality of Service built into the WiMAX technology platform enables carriers to offer features designed for use by commercial enterprises. WiMAX is also a pipeline for media-rich applications for personal use, such as gaming or multicast video.
Lower Consumer Premises Equipment (CPE) Cost: The cost of WiMAX modems and compliant devices will fall as multiple equipment vendors compete with one another in introducing their products. A proprietary system, such as LTE, does not take advantage of economies of scale as much as an open standards technology platform.
Business Ramifications of WiMAX Operational Characteristics
Reduced Installation Costs and Simplified Installation: WiMAX can be installed by the user without a “truck roll” by the wireless operator. Mobile and fixed WiMAX CPEs are “plug and play” modems that can easily be hooked up by a novice user. Technician installation, such as required by satellite television systems, can cost hundreds of dollars, some of which may have to be assumed by the operator, or integrated in monthly subscription fees. The use of smart antenna systems facilitates the introduction of user-friendly WiMAX compliant laptops and devices, such as PDAs. The result of the savings in installation costs is an increased return on investment for the wireless operator, which could be the difference between success and failure of a new broadband access business, especially during an economic recession.
Market Timing: Being first to the market is a significant advantage for WiMAX. WiMAX technology has already passed through the stages of development, testing and adoption, meaning it will have a head start of at least two years on any competitors. Being “the first-est with the most-est” is the way RCA was able to dominate the nascent television market decades ago. That strategy is still relevant today, especially since the rate of technology change has been accelerating dramatically in today’s world.
Applications: WiMAX will enable an increased number of applications for consumers and businesses because of its Quality of Service, range of service, and throughput improvements. Applications include the delivery of data, VoIP and streaming video. Services can be delivered via a fixed connection to the customer premise or via a portable modem device. True wireless DSL-type services and true low-cost T1 quality replacement services can be delivered via WiMAX enabled networks as well as cellular backhaul and WiFi backhaul.
Profitability: The prominent features of WiMAX, its quality of service, increased bandwidth capacity, greater coverage area, reduced costs of installation and operation, and less-expensive CPE prices for users all position it for higher profitability. As revenues expand, the build-out process can be accelerated.
Community Benefits: There is no element of American society that cannot ultimately benefit from the introduction of a wireless mobile WiMAX network in their community. Mobile WiMAX can make any business community more efficient, improve a school’s performance, enhance health care and public safety, while making government more responsive to the needs of the community. And most importantly, it is an innovative technology that can be deployed rapidly and less expensively in unserved, underserved, and rural areas.