AT&T Punctures WiMAX Hype

The other day AT&T announced an update on three of its trail WiMAX projects, however this trial unfortunately punctured some of the hype surrounding the slowly emerging technology.

Speaking on the occasion, Behzed Nadji, AT&T’s Chief Architect commented, “’There’s little reality to that,’ laying to rest that WiMAX is capable of reaching 70 Mbit/s throughputs over distances of 70 miles. According to him a range of 3 to 5 miles and 2 Mbit/s is closer to reality. He further stated that one of AT&T’s three deployments rarely saw throughput rise above 500 kbit/s.”

Behzed Nadji, AT&T’s Chief Architect predicted WiMAX would prosper in moving backhaul traffic.

The trials being run by AT&T use a combination of licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum. AT&T got favorable results in a Middletown trial where it used a pre-specification agreement linking three businesses. At the second deployment centre, AT&T is deploying WiMAX in five villages in Alaska. Here AT&T had opted for unlicensed spectrum because of little electromagnetic pollution. The third deployment is taking place in Atlanta.

But the chances of WiMAX making any significant impact is very bleak, if WiMAX is capable of making any impact then it will be for cheap local loops. AT&T’s current fiber carrier customers appreciate the flexibility of WiMAX and spend a lot of money today on access charges, and need no more than 1.5Mbit/s.

Though its early days for WiMAX to pass any judgment, its still being deployed after its announcement in 1996.


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