In just a few short years, WiMax has become a disruptive force in the wireless industry.
As the first 4G wireless technology, WiMax has the potential to do for broadband what the cell phone did for voice and provide high-speed internet access for millions of users globally.
Over the past ten years mobile communications have transitioned from a luxury item to a utility as critical as electricity and water. With this rapid expansion of subscribers and services, the operators of the wireless networks are making money today and adding subscribers at rapid rates. India for example has growth between 20% and 30% year over year growth in mobile subscribers.
However, this very success carries the seeds of potential crisis as these subscribers begin expecting, demanding and consuming ever-increasing amounts of data over these same networks. 3G networks-from the RAN architecture to the synchronous transport-were designed primarily to support increased voice capacity with a modicum of data support. They were never intended to support the multiple terabytes being transported today. HSPA and HSPA+, while definitely providing enhancements, are still bound by the 3G architecture and can be considered mere band-aids as opposed to long term solutions.
As operators eye the incredible growth and hence strain on their networks, they must ponder the question: When and how do I make the move to 4G? It's no longer a question of 'if', but more a question of "when" and "how".