Feeds

WiMAX has 'failed miserably'

Aussie pokes WiMAX bubble

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Australian wireless carrier Buzz Broadband has shuttered its WiMAX network, describing the technology as a "disaster" that has "failed miserably".

Speaking at an international WiMAX conference in Bangkok, Garth Freeman, CEO of Buzz, claimed the technology didn't work indoors more than 2Km from the base station and had latency as high as a second. High latency is a problem for many internet applications, including the VoIP service that Buzz promoted to get customers.

The lack of in-building penetration is a result of using high frequencies, which can carry lots of data but have shorter ranges and can't get into buildings, as anyone using a 3G network will testify. There has been a hope, in the industry, that WiMAX would magically solve these problems but radio frequency physics remain problematic.

The industry was quick to blame Airspan, which provided the infrastructure to Buzz, but the supplier was equally quick to blame its customer, saying that cost-cutting had led to an ineffective network.

"With regard to range ... Buzz Broadband opted to go with the less-expensive micro-cell base stations to reduce cost," Declan Byrne chief marketing officer at Airspan, said in an open letter.

But the failure of Buzz has also been attributed to its business model, which contrasts with the success of KT Corp's WiBro deployment in South Korea - always held up as the proof that mobile WiMAX can succeed. KT didn't try and sell VoIP services, and was covering an urban area where denser deployment of cells makes in-building penetration less of a problem, so indicating the kind of service WiMAX is more suited towards.

Hopefully, the lesson won't be lost on Comcast and Time Warner, who are apparently in talks aimed at funding a US-national WiMAX network to be run by Sprint. The Wall Street Journal reports that Comcast would sink in $1bn, with Time Warner putting up $500m, though the deal is still under negotiation.

One failed deployment will do little to derail the WiMAX juggernaut. But Buzz should serve as a useful lesson in what can go wrong with WiMAX, and how to avoid it.

Buzz will continue to offer wireless connectivity in Australia, but not with WiMAX. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.