WiMAX Revitalizes Broadband Wireless Access through New Standards and Rebranding, Affirms ABI

Rebranding an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard may have been the best thing that could have happened to local wireless data networking.

Rebranding an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard may have been the best thing that could have happened to local wireless data networking. In moving from 802.11 to Wi -Fi, consumers are better able to identify the technology and its features. Will rebranding IEEE 802.16 as "WiMAX" bring the same success to broadband wireless networks? According to new research from ABI, the answer is: It depends.

What lies beneath the consumer -centric names like Wi -Fi and WiMAX are rigorous standards that promote development of common technologies, interfaces and protocols, bringing component and equipment prices down. One problem with WiMAX is that there are actually three underlying protocols within the WiMAX family of standards, potentially hindering adoption. Further, there is potential competition with IEEE 802.20 equipment for mobile broadband wireless access, also served by WiMAX 802.16e.

"Companies are already developing commercial products based upon the WiMAX standards. However, a real threat to its adoption is further splintering of the standards which will limit economies of scale," states ABI's director of research Edward Rerisi. "Lower equipment costs are essential to the technology's advancement."

ABI's upcoming report on WiMAX includes information on all varieties of 802.16 and the upcoming 802.20 standards. The report reveals that spending on the technology will not commence until 2004, with cumulative revenue exceeding $2 billion over the next five years. The largest segment will be the residential market, which will rely on the technology as a broadband connection. This segment is followed closely by the small/medium enterprise market. Other segments examined in the study include large enterprise, wireless backhaul and nomadic markets. Unlike many technologies, a surprising finding of the study is that North America will actually lag behind other regions in adoption of the technology.

"Key to the market achieving these forecasts is that WiMAX -certified equipment will be lower in cost than proprietary broadband wireless access technologies," concludes Rerisi.

ABI is a N.Y. -based technology market research firm founded in 1990. ABI publishes market research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries. Details can be found on the web at abiresearch.com or by calling 516 -624 -3113.

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