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Old 04-06-2006, 10:33 PM
extremepixie extremepixie is offline
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Default WiMax is Dead! Long Live 802.20!?!?

DON'T YOU just love it when industry luminaries talk in numbers rather than products? I bet most people missed the significance when new Qualcomm CEO, Paul Jacobs, said 802.16 was dead, here at the CTIA show in Vegas.

What he meant to say was 802.16e is dead – which is, of course, WiMAX. Jacobs reckons that the real future lies with a completely new standard called 802.20. Qualcomm plans to 'inject' the technology it acquired (OFDM) from Flarion into the 802.20 standard.

Technically speaking 802.16e is known as Wireless Metropolitan Area Network whereas 802.20 is Mobile Broadband Wireless Access. They've both evolved out of 802.11 (WiFi) but 802.20 is much closer to being a competitor to cellular than 802.16e.

Jacobs was also keen to focus on what he called the World Mode chipset which in effect enables a CDMA2000 to fall back onto a GSM network if there's no CDMA signal. Phones with this capability are around – and available from Verizon, for example.

But Qualcomm hopes the new chipset will push this capability into mid-tier handsets. He's probably right. The INQ can't think of a territory in which such a phone wouldn't work. You'd have fun signing up to the appropriate network operators' services, though.

Another interesting comment Jacobs made is Qualcomm's lack of interest in creating a single chipset that carries its cellular capabilities plus WiFi (802.11). He says there's insufficient demand for a single product as opposed to the two chip alternative.

Qualcomm is rather pleased to announce that it is sampling 65 nanometer technology for its latest CDMA2000 EVDO chipsets, too. Jacobs reckons this will enable handset vendors to squeeze more inside smaller handsets.

Although the INQ is not convinced by his assertion that a mobile handset will be used to push content to a plasma screen hanging on the wall in your kitchen. Surely there will be easier ways to watch TV in the distant future?
It seems these games always take place as these companies try to reach a standard. Will be interesting to see what pans out, but I think the future of broadband and wide area networking is all going to be wireless so the sooner we get a reliable standard the better.

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