No end to the hype

Summary:Industry vendors creating hoopla out of technologies that are ahead of their time will obviously find it hard to fulfill their promises.WiMax is an example.

Industry vendors creating hoopla out of technologies that are ahead of their time will obviously find it hard to fulfill their promises.

WiMax is an example. While I've heard that acronym many times in the last few years--and it's sure to crop up again at this week's CommunicAsia--I've yet to see a promising deployment, at least in Asia.

Last year, an Indian telco recounted its troubles with WiMax, while a Malaysian counterpart wished the price of modems would drop further to spur widespread take-up.

Japan's NTT DoCoMo is experimenting with WiMax, and Korea's WiBro, the country's homegrown cousin of WiMax, is just starting to take flight.

But vendors continue to hype technologies that have yet to prove their worth.

Early this year, one WiMax vendor proclaimed it had secured a contract with an ISP in one of Asia' less-developed countries--also the first country that I know of that's touting nationwide wireless broadband coverage.

But recently, I found out from a businessman with operations there that he was possibly the tenth customer to sign up for the service. In less than six months, it's garnered only 10 users so far? That's a far cry from the glorified sales pitch that the CEO of that WiMax company had given me.

To be fair, it's up to the ISP to secure customers, and it's probably charging a premium for a WiMax service that's not even running at full speed. The businessman said he is only getting a bandwidth of 128Kbps, as opposed to the technology's maximum access speed of 75Mbps.

Yes, WiMax as a technology is great; I can see how it benefits places without reliable infrastructure, or that it gives fixed-line operators a run for their money. But overselling any technology will only serve to amplify its weaknesses and lead to misconceptions.

Topics: Networking


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 15 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings. Eileen majored i... Full Bio

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