The terms ‘4G’ and ‘WiMax’ have been thrown around quite a lot over the past several years. 4th Generation broadband access has been often seen as the futuristic offspring of the current 3G network technology. The outlook for 4G was optimistic- upload and download speeds nearly identical to anchored cable connections but effortlessly available on-the-move across the country. Disappointingly, a number of legal, economic, and political hurdles have slowed a nation-wide release of WiMax. Currently it has only been deployed in Baltimore and Portland, with limited access.
It’s a relief that Clearwire, the primary mover of 4G WiMax technology, has announced a partnership with Cisco Systems. Cisco has been known to be a company that puts it’s money where it’s mouth is and delivers products in a timely and efficient manner. The addition of Cisco as a partner to create WiMax equipment should speed up the initiative as a whole. Cisco will be charged with building new mobile WiMax devices for CLEAR 4G consumers, small offices as well as the small and medium-sized business arenas.
From Cisco’s Newsroom:
“By teaming with Cisco, one of the world’s most forward-looking IP network infrastructure providers, we’re building a robust and cost-efficient next-generation network that’s designed specifically for delivering rich broadband services,” said Scott Richardson, Chief Strategy Officer of Clearwire. “In addition, Cisco plans to develop WiMAX technology for end-user devices, which will give consumers and businesses more compelling ways to stay connected through our CLEAR 4G service.”
Just to recap for those who have been missing for the past two years: 3G is the network technology that is touted every five minutes on a cell phone commercial for Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and every other carrier with the capital for a 30 second spot. The big carriers try to one up each other with claims of the most far reaching network or the largest capacity for data transfer. In reality, 3G networks still have quite a few holes in their nationwide plans and the data transfer almost never actually reaches the touted 1-2 mbps downstream speeds.
3G networks have never truly been an end-goal, but rather an in-between state between anchored broadband and next generation technologies like WiMax. Sure – you can check your email, get directions and even watch a video or two on your iPhone or via your cellular broadband card. Utilizing the 3G networks has always been a compromise though, it’s never quite as fast or reliable as a land connection. There is always the sigh of relief when you connect to your home or office’s wireless network.
We’ve been in limbo; to be fully productive citizens of the Internet, we need our 4G technologies. Nationwide WiMax will open up the doors to overdue features like full-fledged cell phone video conferencing capabilities. Cisco is the perfect partner to manufacture the networking hardware necessary for this next leap in human connectivity. They already have the record of success for developing the routers and switches for our prior generation of networking needs. Used Cisco hardware has proliferated the market for a reason- it is well built and made to work efficiently.
“Around the globe, mobile WiMAX providers continue to make great strides bringing 4G mobile Internet services to market, and we are pleased that Clearwire has selected Cisco to help un-tether its Internet customers across the United States while delivering high performance,” said Brett Galloway, senior vice president, wireless and security technology group of Cisco.