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WiMAX and WiFi

wimax-and-wifi-motorola-intel.jpg

Motorola put out a milestone press release today wrapping up the year in WiMAX. Easy to overlook, except as I scanned the text, I realized that even I didn’t know half the milestones listed in the release. For example, how many active WiMAX trials would you guess Motorola currently has going on around the world? The answer is a whopping 44 active trials in 38 countries.

More to the point, though, the announcement gave me the prod I needed to investigate a bit further into the Motorola WiMAX strategy. There’s been so much focus on the Sprint Xohm launch of late, I thought it was time to take a step back and look at other WiMAX applications and deployment models. Turns out there’s a white paper (co-authored by Motorola and Intel) that does just that: WiMAX and WiFi Together. The focus of the paper (unsurprisingly) is on pairing WiMAX and WiFi for extended broadband services, and it goes so far as to outline a number of different business models for doing so. Here are a few examples:

  • Combining WiFi with WiMAX could give a boost to hotspot providers who are trying to sign up users with monthly subscriber fees. Hotspots are great, but where there are multiple service providers, it doesn’t pay to sign up for one hotspot service when a consumer could just as easily end up in range of a different provider requiring its own sign-up fee. WiMAX could provide coverage between a provider’s hotspots, extending range and the value of the service.
  • By integrating WiMAX and WiFi in a single piece of consumer hardware, service providers can quickly deploy widespread broadband using WiMAX for the backhaul and WiFi for in-building coverage. In particular, this is a useful alternative solution for temporary deployments such as trade shows, construction sites and emergency sites.
  • Campus-wide broadband is a useful application for enterprise, government and educational organizations. WiFi provides connectivity in individual buildings, and WiMAX blankets the rest of the campus for a continuous connection. (I can’t imagine how this wouldn’t be a killer promotional point in any college admissions tour.) Continue reading