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WiMAX – Quantity of Services waits on Quality of Service

19 декабря 2008

Arguably the hottest debates in the mobile wireless ecosystem today are those that compare the virtues and promises of WiMAX and LTE. Mostly these debates are centric about investment, availability of devices and performance. What both sides of the argument are weighing in with equally is the promise of an all-IP network. What they’re weighed down with is an incomplete suite of solutions.

Regardless of the whether it’s WiMAX or LTE that delivers the bandwidth, there are still elements of a 4G world that are full of optimism but fraught with complication. One of those elements is voice service; or more correctly, the lack of a viable and reliable mechanism to provide voice service over an all IP mobile wireless network. While VoIP would seem to be a logical answer, a practical answer to a ubiquitous, seamless, voice experience is still more of a promise than a reality.

Bridging that gap today for XOHM is Sprint’s existing CDMA network. Although XOHM doesn’t explicitly state this, they do implicitly suggest it on their website offering that, “Unlike today's existing mobile internet which uses cell phone/voice technology, the XOHM network is specifically designed for internet data and mobility.” But if you’re not an incumbent carrier with a network available to efficiently carry voice traffic what are your options?

One option is compromise. If your customers are tolerant, early adopters then they may be willing to compromise quality for low cost. Such a low cost option for customers and carriers is that of employing a VoIP client application on a mobile device. One of the more popular being SIP, a proven staple of many wired VoIP environments that has also demonstrated its potential in wireless LAN environments. It’s simple, standards based and works well where QoS is available. Where QoS isn’t available SIP can work reasonably well, not optimally though, if there’s plentiful, low latency bandwidth available. For now customers can expect inconsistent voice quality, dropped calls and a low level of support – in summary, they can expect to have to compromise.

WiMAX, long purported to be the panacea of all that is wireless connectivity speaks to support of voice services so what’s the rub? Simply stated it’s that the first wave of certification for mobile WiMAX products isn’t imposing a requirement for QoS. As a result, QoS is relegated to more of a suggestion than much else and because of that the promise of voice services over mobile WiMAX has languished. Languishing points to another option, also a compromise – waiting.

Will customers compromise by continuing to maintain both voice and data services? Will carriers compromise and continue to relay upon separate networks until the promises of LTE appear? Or, will the WiMAX ecosystem leverage its efforts and investments and deliver supported QoS devices, infrastructure and solutions sooner than later?

By Andrew Mitchell,Contributing Editor

Источник: WiMAX Trends

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