On WiMax Cost and performance  

The first WiMax Forum-certified device is reportedly only few months old, and already, the market is bulging with a variety of products. The competition is intense. With giants like Intel and Motorola announcing a big investments, the designers are really keeping their fingers crossed. That is mainly because, the initial efforts to push WiMax has not been very effective. This is basically because, in telecom, cost plays a big role.

WiMax costs - Critical factor.

WiMax has been initially projected as the wireless broadband technology for the rural areas. Some operators are into deployment off-late. But this has been limited as the effort was to
provide WiMax as alternate for those areas that are not covered by existing broadband
technologies. Whether wide-deployment of WiMax becomes reality depends on the cost. For a
customer who meets a new technology, he expects to get things done "better", and by "better"
he means a lower cost also. For the operator the criteria is Operating costs. So a delicate
balance of these two is the key for wide deployment. As mentioned earlier, when the competition gets thick, the price also plays an important role in decision making. At this point of time, it appears that WiMax has caught the attention of specialist applications. The Wimax is still an emerging technology nad IEEE has ratified 802.16e as the standard for WiMax. So where does it go from here?

Unique Offerings?

When there are a variety of solutions available in the market, each manufacturer will try to provide a unique feature/attraction that will differentiate their products from the rest. The major thrust has been on improving the QoS to the end user. For example, people are looking into adaptive techniques and MIMO techniques to support more simultaneous users and thus increase in coverage area. Some comapnies like Samsung are trying to develop their own WiMax standard. With the telecom industry already looking forward to 4G, the WiMax has still got a long way head.

WiMAx performance

There always exists a cost-performance trade-off. The ideal situation recommends a reduction in cost with zero compromise in the performance. Many companies are providing solutions, which are flexible, compact yet cost effective. They can be used across continents which have different frequency bands. For example, Texas Instruments offer TRFxxxx series of chipsets which can be configured to support both CPE and BTS performance levels. This greatly reduces the time to market of many WiMax solutions. LNAs with very high levels of performance are available,providing WiMax receivers reliable performance over difficult transmission paths. Vendors also want to have high-end and low-end stations for the price-sensitive market. Eventhough the market has not seen any killer applications that forces the consumers to move to 3G from 2/2.5G, the developers are hoping that the requirement for higher speed wireless communication, faster movie/music downloads and anywhere-connectivity will be pushing the 4G. WiMax is also based on the OFDMA technology, which is recommended for 4G.

Overall, WiMax has to face stiff competition both at the performance front and the price factor. In order to become the market leading technology, it has to overcome the threat from upgrades of existing technology also.

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