This post is a special one in that I’m posting comments from our wireless CTO here at Intel about some confusion and misinformation around Intel’s take on WiMAX and LTE 4G wireless technologies that has been of great discussion this week.Read on to hear what Siavash Alamouti, Intel Fellow of our Mobility Group and CTO of the Mobile Wireless Group has to say… and join in a discussion with him, too. He’ll be on the look out for comments and questions. There has been a mild uproar about Intel’s WiMAX and LTE views the last few days that I plan to clear up here. For those who don’t follow wireless standards closely, both of these acronyms make up two somewhat similar standards for the next ‘4G’ network people would use for their laptops, mobile internet devices, smart phones, et al. Or, what I like to call the first generation (1G) for Mobile Internet. Many of the world’s leading equipment manufacturers and carriers, including Intel, Sprint, Clearwire, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable (who announced major investments in a new wireless company being formed by Sprint and Clearwire) are backing WiMAX, which is being trialed and deployed by innovative service providers around the world. Intel is also investing heavily to bring mobile WiMAX to other parts of the world, including Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, the UK, Sweden. For anyone to imply that we are backing down, our investments, passion and the facts clearly show otherwise. The LTE standard, also supported by several major service providers, is years down the road, give or take development of the standard and equipment to get it deployed. I am the CTO for the Mobile Wireless Group of Intel that develops silicon and modules for WiFi and WiMAX in our platforms and I personally drive our standards actives for Wireless at Intel and here is our view:
- Insatiable demand for the Mobile Internet continues to grow. WiMAX is here now to meet that demand. LTE is at least 2-3 years away.
- Even in its first generation, WiMAX is showing 2-3x performance over today’s 3G (HSPA). With the next iteration of the standard, 802.16m, WiMAX will evolve and offer even greater speeds, just as LTE is coming to market.
- Intel has always been an advocate of global open standards – they benefit consumers and are typically more cost effective. We’ve lead and been involved in hundreds of standards proposals, and will continue to drive WiMAX standards efforts, as well as other wireless standards like 3GPP and LTE to ensure innovation and interworking.
- Both WiMAX and LTE have many similarities and both require significant upgrades to existing network equipment and phones – the evolution path from a 3G to 4G network is very similar regardless of an operator’s choice of 4G technology.
- Intel currently has no silicon plans for LTE.