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« WiBro Demonstrated in South Korea | Main | Nortel Builds Vast Albertan WiMax Network »

December 1, 2005

Ericsson CTO on WiMax, Wi-Fi

By Glenn Fleishman

I can’t tell if the CTO of Ericsson is much better or worse informed than I am: The fellow doesn’t like mobile WiMax much (802.16e) because it’s a decade younger than cell standards that evolved into HSDPA. He’s pinning his star to 3G, and there are a lot of folks who will agree with that—and a lot on the other side of that debate.

He sees fixed WiMax (what is being called “d” here, but is 802.16-2004, encompassing everything up to 802.16d) as being a DSL substitute in areas lacking copper wire where a provider needs a competitive edge against 3G.

But he starts slipping on the ice, in my view, when he begins to deprecate the idea that Wi-Fi hotspots even exist and that operators wouldn’t run them even if the hardware were given to them gratis. Given the number of cell operators in Europe installing Wi-Fi hotspots at a breakneck pace; the 20,000 to 25,000 such locations in the U.S., about half of which are run or aggregated by major telcos; and the Asian rollout in South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere of Wi-Fi—it’s hard to fathom his take on this.

The ice starts to crack as I read that he thinks that carriers who offer UMA (unlicensed mobile access) will be countered by others who provide unlimited GSM at home using GPS to identify when you’re home…that’s just weird and contrary to stated plans, the growth of home and office Internet telephony and VoIP, and trends in the telecom world.

Finally, he plunges below the top layer of the frozen lake when he claims that Wi-Fi uses all kinds of power all the time, that prototype phones offering four hours of use in Wi-Fi mode when on standby won’t get better, and that Wi-Fi’s power usage is based on a laptop battery model. He’s not reading the spec of today’s low-power consumption chips, and he’s making a weird assumption that it can’t get better, when it’s already become radically improved in the first few generations of embedded Wi-Fi chips.

He ends by stating that Flarion is dead.

Posted by Glennf at December 1, 2005 2:04 PM

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