How did I miss this? Blinked, probably. The IEEE has kicked off work on 802.16m, the next generation of WiMAX. I've read various reports of what it'll be and when, but without the correct IEEE documentation to pull apart - still looking -- I'll merely pass on what I've read without making any claims that it's accurate.
1Gbps, complete with backward compatibility for existing WiMAX, by the end of 2009.
That's more like it. How will it work? Reassuringly, the proposal is that it'll be achieved by developing existing techniques such as OFDM and MIMO - and even more reassuringly, working prototypes of gigabit wireless networking using just that combination have been thundering away in the lab since 2004. Keen-eyed readers following that link will spot that it used no fewer than eight antennas - three on the transmitter and five on the receiver - and this highlights one of the abiding problems of MIMO for portable platforms: you end up with a svelt hand-held device that looks as if it's being sexually ravaged by a hedgehog.
Assuming we can get past the lustful porcupine syndrome, and waving our hands in a desultory fashion concerning such minor issues as battery life, power dissipation and effective throughput, then we've got a real contender for the next emperor of the airwaves.
Add to that the continued noises from the WiMax community that they're dedicated to pushing out the existing standards (in no small part due to frustrations experienced by various parties while working with the current cellular operators), and we might be in with a chance. We need something: if none of the wired bods are going to get serious about fibre to the home, it's that or be stuck with ADSL 2+ for the foreseeable. And that would be a shame.