Lack of WiMax standards 'hindering adoption'

The first certified WiMax products should be on the market next year, but that may be too late, according to Frost and Sullivan

Continued delays in the WiMax certification process are posing a "real challenge" to the rollout of a long-range wireless broadband service in Europe.

The delays, combined with regulatory hold-ups, could give other technologies such as wi-fi and 3G a head start.

WiMax vendors have realised the need for common open standards, with the 802.16d standard the front runner.

While these vendors may claim to provide WiMax products at present, only a pre-WiMax solution exists and most vendors are undergoing the WiMax Forum certification testing for 802.16d standard, according to analyst Frost and Sullivan.

But once certification is available this will lead to a rollout of the fixed wireless service, the analyst predicted.

Frost and Sullivan senior research analyst, Luke Thomas, said in a statement: "Once fixed WiMax... 802.16d equipment gets WiMax certified, service providers would be more forthcoming in rolling out a nationwide WiMax service in the licensed bands."

The analyst house expects the first 802.16d certified products to hit the market in the first half of 2006. But this may give rival technologies a chance to gain momentum.

Thomas warned: "With continued delays in the certification process with 802.16d, and issues pertaining to spectrum allocation, other competing technologies such as Wi-Fi and 3G will gain more momentum within the European wireless industry."

The 802.16e mobile standard is only likely to be a ratified standard by the end of this year. This is not compatible with 802.11d, so service providers will need to decide whether to roll out the fixed wireless version or wait for the mobile option.