Feeds

WiMAX has 'failed miserably'

Aussie pokes WiMAX bubble

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.