The Future Of Mobiles: LTE Vs WiMax

The mobile phone has almost always been the site of two sided battles. At first it was the Pocket PC/Windows Mobile vs Palm. Then it was Windows Mobile vs Blackberry (although that one's still raging). Then it was everyone vs the iPhone. We've had CDMA duking it out with GSM and the list goes on. The next battle, for your mobile communications heart and mind will be between LTE and WiMax.

LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is the likely successor of the cellular-based mobile communications network. It's an official standard that falls a little short of the official 4G comms standards established by the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). The first LTE implementations went live late in 2009 in Stockholm and Oslo. Unlike the fastest 3G networks, like Telstra's NextG, that peaks at a theoretical maximum of 42Mbps, LTE boosts that to 100Mbps downstream and 50MBps upstream.

WiMax is a series of Wireless Broadband standards based the IEEEs 802.16. Unlike LTE, which is pitched as a cellular service with a broad coverage footprint, WiMax was originally intended to act as a backhaul or last mile comms technology. For example, in Bahrain is deployed as an alternative to cable or ADSL. Some other Middle Eastern countries have followed suit with the global picture showing that there were about 340 WiMAX operators in 116 countries with investments in WiMax by the end of 2009. The currently published WiMax spec allows for a maximum speed of 40Mbps but the soon-to-be official version with support speeds of up to 1Gbps over

Now, we started this discussion pitting LTE and WiMax against each other. The reality is that while they might be competitors in some situations, they can be complementary technologies. When LTE begins to become more prevalent I expect to see it integrated into mobile phones, smartphones, notebooks and notebooks - the same sorts of devices that currently have integrated 3G. WiMax might be used in places where the deployment of ADSL and other broadband options aren't practicable.

MobileModo is Gizmodo Australia’s look at the rise and rise of the mobile phone, from Bell’s landline to the ubiquitous mobiles of today.

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