Why Max?

PCQ Bureau
New Update

I don't know whether you've noticed, but all modern day wireless

technologies have had a long and difficult path to success. Bluetooth for

instance, didn't become successful overnight. A lot of brows were raised about

its utility value. It was on the verge of dying when the mobile phone and

gadgets revolution happened and not only brought it back, but filled it up with

life. Infrared was just another 'cool' feature in laptops without any real

utility value. It wasn't until the Palm used it for synchronizing emails with

Outlook and beaming visiting cards to others that it became a success. Of

course, now it's completely outdated and on its way out, thanks to Bluetooth,

but Palm owners just couldn't live without it back then. WiFi, or WLAN as it's

called, was first introduced almost a decade ago. 

Anil Chopra, Associate Editor

In fact, I remember reviewing the first Wireless LAN equipment back then from

an Israeli company. Now WiFi is all over the place, and most of the credit for

its success goes to wireless enabled laptops becoming ubiquitous, the cost of

access points coming down, and the govt. opening up the frequency spectrum

required for it to work. What's now left are MANs or Metropolitan Area

Networks. The technology that fits the bill currently is WiMAX or Worldwide

Interoperability for Microwave Access. This technology has also been around for

many years now. It's supposed to offer bandwidth capacity of up to 40 Mbps

within a radius of 3 to 10 kms. So the obvious question is whether WiMAX will

also taste success like the other wireless technologies, and to what extent.

According to some forecasts, there will be 13 million WiMAX subscribers in

India by 2012. Whether this figure is achieved or not, depends upon a number of

things. One is cost. Currently, there's a need for cost effective broadband

connectivity in India, as the existing penetration levels are pretty low. With

companies like Intel planning to build WiMAX capabilities into the laptops

itself, the end user cost gets taken care of to some extent. Second is

convenience and quality of connectivity. Currently, a large part of India is

still on dial-up and DSL. WiMAX fits the bill not only because it offers higher

bandwidth and better quality connectivity, but it also takes away the burden of

the service provider for laying out wires for the last mile. Third is acceptance

by telecom providers. They shouldn't end up thinking that the technology will

threaten existing markets for GPRS, CDMA, etc. This concern can be brushed aside

since many leading telecom providers are already doing some pilots with WiMAX.

Moreover, another forecast says that there will be 21.3 million 3G users in

India by 2010. This wouldn't have come had there been a conflict between these

technologies. All signs for WiMAX therefore, look positive.