MOTOROLA RECKONS THAT next generation wireless data networks will become increasingly ubiquitous next year and it wants to be at the front of the pack.
The company is hedging its bets on both Wimax and Long Term Evolution (LTE), believing that both can in fact co-exist, or at least survive in different environments until they are inevitably merged into a single standard or replaced entirely.
"Wireless broadband is the utility of the 21st century, and Motorola has the solutions in both WiMax and LTE that will meet consumer demand and operator requirements for network efficiency," said Bruce Brda, senior vice president and general manager of Wireless Networks for Motorola's Home and Networks Mobility division.
According to a study by Motorola, it's not just the kids of today or high flying executives who want to be permanently connected, but rather that the vast majority of people now want to have all the Internet has to offer at their fingertips.
With Wimax currently beating LTE to market, the company is pushing its development of products adhering to the 802.16m standard and continues its participation in the various standards bodies currently refining wireless data specifications.
"We believe Wimax will continue to grow and its future path to 802.16m provides a way of delivering more bandwidth even more efficiently. In addition, we are planning new products in 2010 that will be geared for regional operators," added Brda.
According to figures from the Wimax Forum, there are now over 10 million Wimax subscribers using 519 Wimax networks deployed across 146 countries around the globe, ranging from home users through retail and wholesale access to smart grid applications.
However, Brda reckons that Motorola is using its understanding of Wimax to help push the development of LTE multiple-in and multiple out, all-IP wireless networks, thanks largely to its work in Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) mobile broadband, as well as on network scheduler and master controller components of the radio access network.
The company is involved in many of the field trials currently under way and its first commercial LTE deployments will be based on third-generation Wimax products that have been proven and field-hardened.
"Our deployment, management and optimisation of many large-scale commercial Wimax networks around the world gives us operations-level experience which our research and development teams use to make better and more stable LTE solutions," explained Brda.
Motorola has seen a number of achievements in the wireless data space over the course of 2009, but insists that we are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg, though it cautions that there are still some massive hurdles that will need to be overcome.
Flat rate data plans, combined with the increased levels of mobile data usage, mean that many operators are reluctant to make the massive investments required to upgrade the networks to Wimax, LTE or even HPSA+ without a definite idea of where the return on investment will come from.
Added to this, continuing discussion of issues around specifications and spectrum allocation make the lives of hardware manufacturers increasingly difficult as well. µ