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Sprint Rolls out WiMAX Access 156

Tokin84 writes "Today, Sprint announced that it would pour over $4.5Bn into a 2.5Ghz WiMAX system to be rolled out across the country. From the article: 'Sprint Nextel, the nation's largest holder of radio spectrum in the precious 2.5 GHz band, has reportedly chosen to deploy Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access (WiMAX) as the foundation of its technology platform for the carrier's mobile broadband Next-Generation Network (NGN) build-out.'"
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Sprint Rolls out WiMAX Access

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  • Re:Here's an idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Synic ( 14430 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:34PM (#15867874) Homepage Journal
    If you could use wireless reliably on a desktop machine over a equivalent or higher speed than your current wired connection, why would you say no to it?
  • So many standards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dsmey ( 193342 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:46PM (#15867996)
    Great. So now we'll have Sprint/Nextel using WiMax on 2.5ghz, Verizon using CDMA on 850/1900mhz, Cingular using UMTS/HSPDA on 850/1900/2100mhz, and TMobile using GSM 1900mhz. Why can't we be like Europeans and just settle on one wireless technology?
  • Re:Here's an idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oldave ( 160729 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:59PM (#15868129)
    Sprint/Nextel isn't an ILEC (mostly, and not at all if the spinoff of the local phone business is complete - I didn't check), nor even a CLEC.

    In other words, Sprint doesn't have cable facilities already in place passing by subdivisions with thousands of potential subscribers. Verizon, AT&T and (for this week) Bellsouth do. Those are the guys you should be asking for fiber.

    I expect wireless connectivity to take off in a big way over the next 2 or 3 years, and Sprint's taking this step to try to be at the forefront. Remember, business users were the reason they wanted Nextel.
  • Re:Here's an idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:15PM (#15868268) Homepage Journal
    Fiber to the home may sound like a wonderful thing, and I must confess that I used to think that way. I had that sentiment until I practically found myself in a Douglas Adam's book arguing with Verizon contractors who were intent on trenching my property for fiber optic lines. They were offering this wonderful new service to our neighborhood. I actually sat in front of my house to make sure that they did not dig up any more than the 10 feet from the street that they are allowed by city code. They then offered me a pittence of a discount to adopt the new technology without even bothering to patch the holes in my lawn. After writing a (mostly friendly) letter to corporate HQ, Verizon finally seeded part of the damaged area. Never will I use the their FTTH Internet connection. Don't so sure that Fiber is the solution.

    If Sprint WiMax can save another city the troubles that faced my city, I am in favor of it. I would also like to have full coverage no matter where I go within my area.

  • by MrZaius ( 321037 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:20PM (#15868311) Homepage
    Four things:
    One: WiMAX is an open protocol that'll work over a variety of spectra. It's possible to do it over unlisenced bands, UHF (700mhz), MMDS (2.5ghz), and just about anything else you can't shake a stick at. (I assume you can't, anyway. Can diviners locate radio towers?) But one way or another, it's already on the market, and it already works its way around a WiFi wap well enough.
    Two: WiFi (54 meg per sec with 802.11g, considerably more with 802.11n) will continue to be faster, easier/cheaper to implement, and far more common for small networks. That and they've got momentum behind 'em. Dig the lifespan of the ethernet port and the amount of money already spent by every coffee shop, hotel, and law firm in the country on WAPs.
    Three: There very likely won't be any hacking necessary to change a modem that they sell you to use unlicensed spectrum. Assuming it's possible at all. They'll do it one of two ways: A - They'll put the modem inside the house, run RF cable up to an antenna that down converts the 2.5ghz signal into something used by conventional cable systems and use a regular DOCSIS compliant cablemodem. B - They'll embed everything in the antenna and you'll be screwed/unable to change the broadcast frequency. My money's on B.
    Four: The WiMAX modems may become considerably cheaper, but that doesn't matter much. No harder to lock a rogue connection to a WISP's network than it is to knock 'em off a cable providers.
  • by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:23PM (#15868327) Homepage
    Huh.. reading this made me realize that wireless isn't going to change anything..

    One of the major complaints about the telecom industry is how it is controlled by a natural monopoly -- that is, there are only so many physical fibers that can be distributed around the country. It means you can't have competition: A competing telecom company can't just tear up the streets and install their own lines to compete with big business.

    So we've always been told that wireless will change all that.. as soon as WiMAX is available, suddenly we won't be restricted to physical lines! We'll be able to run community networks and municipal public internet access.

    But then.. this article reminds me that of course the people who will be installing all the wireless access points are going to be the big telecom companies. They'll still be the ones charging for access. And there is only so much bandwidth to go around... much less, in fact, than what is available on the wires. So as long as companies like Sprint jump in and take it first, no one will be able to compete.

    Sad to see that wireless won't be "the answer" to cheap and available telecom.
  • FTTH is Unnecessary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:45PM (#15868510) Homepage
    Fibre to the home is cool, but totally unneeded for 99% of people. Chances are you already had a coax line into yoru house. Do you have any idea the theoretical bandwidth you can shove down a coax cable? It's in the Gbps. There are already existing ISPs that sell 30Mbps over coax.

    The problem is all the spectrum is being hogged up with the analog cable channels. The cable companies are itching to get rid of these - once the price point is low enough on set top boxes so they can give them for free to anyone who needs them, you're going to see available bandwidth over coax explode.

    The coax pipe is very thick. It is not as thick as a fibre pipe, but it is more than enough to be able to drive all the HD streams and internet porn you could ever want.

  • Re:Here's an idea... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by parlyboy ( 603457 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:22PM (#15869319)
    Absolutely. To put some real numbers to on this, according to Sprint, the total capital expenditure for WiMax infrastructure is about 10 percent the cost of a comparable fiber or cable build-out.
  • Re:Here's an idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigCheese ( 47608 ) <> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:23PM (#15869327) Homepage Journal
    They spun off the local phone stuff as Embarq [].

    Here in Overland Park you can't work in IT without having a few ex Sprint people around as well as coworkers with spouses who work there. We hear a lot of stuff.

    Word is that Nextel people are taking over Sprint management from the inside. They may be able to pull this WiMax thing off if they can get the internal politics and bureaucracy under control.

Variables don't; constants aren't.