Wimax Business Insights – An ISP Point of View
The prospects for WiMAX technology as a viable business opportunity are often debated amid numerous real or perceived challenges. Applying this innovative knowledge can make these arguments and challenges disappear.
Unlike what most people expect from rural deployments, you might consider targeting SMEs in urban areas. There are many reasons for this:
o There is a growing demand in companies for bandwidth capable of carrying symmetric traffic, voice, applications and larger file uploads.
o There is a small but growing need for separate last mile services. Today, regardless of how many hard-wired service providers you have, they all use the last mile infrastructure of established carriers based on the location of the nearest telephone exchange, unless you have paid for a costly excavation from the next highest exchange. close. This leads to single points of failure and the possibility of business communications being disrupted for days, as can happen, for example, with a fire in a cable duct somewhere on the radio.
Your worst environment would be a very high-density urban area with many interfering buildings, you have multiple fiber, ADSL, and SDSL networks on each interchange, hundreds of competing providers, a restrictive property planning regime with many ‘listed’ buildings, and no Reserve spectrum for FWA except the 5.8GHz public band.
To do this, due to the scale of competition from other service providers, their model must be disruptive. It has to offer the things businesses need (such as QoS, toll-quality VoIP, high-quality video, symmetric bandwidth, higher capacities and network separation, etc.) at a lower cost.
This means eliminating all unnecessary costs from the model. You will benefit from a quality RF planning tool that gives you a huge advantage over other carriers: mapping exactly where you can provide service, how to configure the customer’s antenna, what bandwidth can be achieved, etc. based on your stations base. You need to know exactly how to tune base stations to avoid black spots, without the need for RF equipment.
Although Wi-Fi and WiMAX are often confused, they are very different from the operators perspective. Wi-Fi is plug and play with no control over the wireless interface. WiMAX is not, it behaves more like an operator ATM network. Wi-Fi is built into laptops and phones, while FWA WiMAX requires larger standalone receivers (yours should be mounted on clients’ ceilings for optimal usability).
The benefit is that WiMAX is very spectrally efficient, at least 50% more than 3G networks, so it has much higher data transport capabilities in a limited spectrum. All Wi-Fi networks share the same public spectrum – WiMAX can operate in a wide range. Wi-Fi provides service in a range of 100m, your WiMAX needs to provide 10Mbps in a range of 1.3km from a base station without line of sight.
WiMAX can create carrier-class networks, Wi-Fi cannot, even with mesh networks. However, Wi-Fi with WiMAX backhaul gets some of the benefits of WiMAX as a backhaul, like VPNs. Many WiMAX client computers will come with built-in Wi-Fi.
Don’t wait for mobile WiMAX (802.16e) – Your vendor experience may be fourteen months to two years behind promised delivery dates, and further delays on key requirements could occur. Don’t expect a good enough 802.16e rig to build a network until late 2007 at the earliest, and no usable CPEs until 2008, as mobile battery life is crucial and it will take time to get it right.
Now there are markets big enough for FWA. The most important thing is to first take the scarce resources (spectrum, etc.) and make them your own. Except in underdeveloped countries without a mobile operator, mobile WiMAX will be very difficult to establish versus established operators with large installed bases because the areas covered are important to customers, which is not a consideration for FWA.