It has been a while since I last heard anything about WiMAX plans for Malaysia. Well, from the news in The Star I gather that this problem is not specific to Malaysia.
The WiMAX Forum who provide standards and certification is now focusing on the US roll out. While some expert argues that the number of equipment needed for Malaysia is not as many as in the US, we still have to wait for them if we want best interoperability between providers.
My take is that I am willing to wait for it to become close to perfect. I want something reliable, and cost does not matter much. I’ll pay as much as RM500 per month for a stable and reliable service with good coverage. Currently, 3G or “wireless broadband” services provided by local telcos are not reliable. Not that it’s anyone’s fault – it’s the technology itself.
How much would you pay for a good WiMAX service?
As usual, click on Continue reading for the original news just in case the original source has been removed.
KUALA LUMPUR: Certification for WiMAX equipment on the 2.3GHz spectrum could be delayed longer than expected and this will impact the countryâ€™s rollout of wireless broadband services using the Âtechnology.
The certification by the WiMAX Forum standards body based in the United States may only happen by end 2009 or even later, said Nokia Siemens Networks which Âmanufactures such equipment.
Four companies, charged with rolling out WiMAX services to at least 25% of the 25 million Âpopulation of Malaysia by year-end, could be caught out by the delay.
These companies are Bizsurf (M) Sdn Bhd, Packet One Networks Sdn Bhd, Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd and Redtone-CNX Broadband Sdn Bhd.
If they choose to roll out their services as planned without the certification, interoperability between base stations, access points and networks could be Âcompromised, said Nokia Siemens Networks.
Going on without certification could also lead to technical glitches in their WiMAX services in the future, the manufacturer added.
Tale of two spectrums
The certification was delayed because the United States is close to a WiMAX rollout, scheduled for June, but on the 2.5GHz spectrum and the WiMAX Forum has given priority of certification to Âequipment utilising that frequency, according to Nokia Siemens Networks.
â€œThe US rollout will involve tens of thousands of pieces of 2.5GHz WiMAX equipment. How many pieces of 2.3GHz equipment would Malaysia need? A hundred, at most?â€ said Danabalan Amirthalingam, head of sales management of radio access (WiMAX solutions) for Asia Pacific at Nokia Siemens Networks.
He believes that certification for 2.3GHz WiMAX equipment will face a long delay. The WiMAX Forum will only look into certifying such components sometime next year, he said. â€œAfter that, the certification process will take at least another six months.â€
In mid stream
A solution to the problem would be for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM), which regulates the local telecommunications industry, to switch spectrums.
Such a switch, however, would leave the four WiMAX service providers in a lurch because the 2.5GHz spectrum is already assigned to seven other wireless broadband service providers, which together have taken up the Âmaximum capacity for that Âfrequency.
It is also an unlikely scenario because the WiMAX service Âproviders would have already invested in 2.3GHz equipment and started infrastructure work from June, last year. Redtone-CNX Broadband said it is proceeding with whatever Âpre-certified equipment that is widely available. â€œCurrently, there is no certified equipment yet to facilitate a 2.3GHz WiMAX rollout,â€ said Zainal Amanshah, CEO of Redtone International Bhd Group.
â€œWe will be starting a pilot project this Thursday, working with a tower provider called Sacofa Sdn Bhd,â€ he said.
Zainal said the lack of pre-certified equipment will impact the exercise and limit the companyâ€™s ability to roll out its services.
â€œWe plan to officially launch the service only when we receive full certification of the equipment next year,â€ he added.
Asiaspace Dotcom did not provide details on its WiMAX Ârollout but said it hopes to meet its goals. Zamri Salleh, Asiaspace Dotcom senior general manager, said the company is having a close eye on the situation and keeping its fingers crossed.
â€œWe will be able roll out (to 25% of the population) by year-end, provided the certification for 2.3GHz equipment is completed well before then,â€ he said.
Packet One and Biz-Surf did not respond to requests for comment by press time. But Packet One had in January announced that its services would be rolled out on target and on schedule. What it is WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless technology that makes it easier and faster to roll out broadband Internet services over large areas, using base stations instead of typical wired Âconnections, to the homes and offices of users.
The WiMAX Forum is an Âindustry-led, not-for-profit Âorganisation formed to certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of broadband Âwireless products based upon the harmonised IEEE 802.16/ETSI HiperMAN standard, according to its website.
It has more than 522 members, comprising the majority of Âoperators, component and Âequipment companies in the communications ecosystem.