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WiMAX forum touts version 2. Again

If we build it someone will come. Won't they?

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The WiMAX forum has again announced that its version 2 specification will be available later this year, as it seems no-one was listening last time around.

The fact that the standard, technically 802.16m, would be finished this year was announced in January, and in April the WiMAX Forum said the specification would be ready on schedule, but no-one seemed to care. So the 'Forum has now announced that it will indeed be published in November.

And it's worked: Gizmodo readers are salivating at the idea of 1Gb/sec downloads, and Computerworld is talking about "when" the Clearwire network upgrades to version 2, rather than the slightly-more-realistic "if".

Clearwire has long been the WiMAX poster child, deploying the technology across the USA, but even Clearwire has gone cold on the technology lately, forcing the WiMAX forum to put a brave face on things.

"We don't think it would be detrimental if Clearwire decided to run both WiMax and LTE," the 'Forum told Computerworld, "In some ways it might be positive for both WiMax and LTE because it would take some of the sting out of the 'either-or' dynamic that a lot of people have been setting up when talking about the two technologies."

Even less welcome will be the attention of the Financial Times, which points out that Intel has dropped something in the region of $1.2bn promoting WiMAX, a technology on which it owns key patents. Patents are, as ever, what it's all about, and even Intel couldn't compete with the rest of the mobile industry which has so much money (and thus, patents) invested in LTE.

WiMAX won't die - there are fixed installations where it works well, and the technology will live on in vertical markets such as back hauling in-train Wi-Fi. But we're not going to see national WiMAX networks, regardless of how many versions of the standard are ratified, or how often we're told about them. ®

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