Although WiMAX has as yet to really take off, what is known as the second generation of the standard or more correctly known as IEEE 802.16m was ratified yesterday as a standard. It adds a range of new additions to the WiMAX standard and as such should boost the overall performance, something that has taken over four years to complete.
The standard is also known as WirelessMAN-Advanced Air Interface although we’re fairly certain someone will come up with something snappier by the time it’s ready for the consumer market. The IEEE 802.116m standard has been specifically developed for metropolitan networks and should offer vastly improved performance over current WiMAX networks. It has been designed to deliver end users download speeds in excess of 100Mbit/s which should compare favorable to consumer enabled WiMAX implementations that rarely allow for speeds above 10Mbit/s today, even though the standard is capable of higher speeds.
One of the advantages of the new standard is that it’s backwards compatible with WiMAX which means that if you’re roaming, you’ll be able to hook into WiMAX networks as well as WirelessMAN networks. Even though the IEEE has approved the new standard we’re still years away from actual implementation, not only in the sense of infrastructure, but also on the device end of things, as without suitable hardware, you won’t be able to connect to a WirelessMAN network. Taking into account that LTE appears to be vastly more popular than WiMAX these days in most parts of the world, we don’t have any high hopes for WirelessMAN, as it seems like yet another competing technology that too few companies are going to be willing to invest the kind of money that’s needed to build sensible size networks with.S|A
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