Monday, March 24, 2008

It's a wanker, mate: Aussie WISP abandons WiMAX

Hervey Bay, Australia WISP Buzz Broadband has pulled the plug on WiMAX, panning it as a "miserable" technological failure at an international WiMAX conference last week in Bangkok.

Commsday.com quoted Buzz Broadband's
CEO Garth Freeman as saying WiMAX's non-line of sight performance was “non-existent” beyond just 2 kilometres from the base station, is hard to receive indoors and is plagued with high latency.

Buzz Broadband will instead use
an alternative wireless protocol based on the TD-CDMA cellular protocol with compression technology capable of throughput up to 38Mbps in the 3.5GHz spectrum. Buzz and other WISPs in Australia are targeting areas like Hervey Bay where about 80 percent of residents are unable to get ADSL because of the use of digital pairgain by incumbent telco Telstra and the exhaustion of existing DSL ports -- a dismal situation mirrored in much of the United States.

If the troubles down under with WiMAX spread, it could have implications in the northern hemisphere, where AT&T a year ago began trials of WiMAX in Ancorage, Alaska with a planned ramp up this year in its 22-state service area. They could also hit big WiMAX player Clearwire and could explain why the company has concentrated going head to head with wireline broadband providers in metro areas instead of targeting non-metro regions where WiMAX signals have to travel farther and can face more challenging terrain and dense foliage.

Airspan, Buzz Broadband's WiMAX equipment vendor, blamed the WISP for the problems, saying it elected to use lower cost equipment with less range and refused technical support.

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