WiMax Chip Production Jumps
WiMAX semiconductor revenue worldwide is projected to hit nearly US$480 million this year, thanks to the deployment of more infrastructure capable of supporting the wireless technology, according to research organization IDC. The figure is forecast to reach US$1.2 billion in 2012.
With Intel expected to produce Montevina, a mobile PC platform that can support WiMAX technology, in this year's second quarter, shipping of customer premises equipment should pick up, IDC says.
WiMAX -- the successor to Wi-Fi -- is the new wireless broadband with a range of up to 80km and bandwidth up to 75bps.
"WiMAX technology has evolved from terrestrial to nomadic to mobile over the last several years, and further enhancements to the standard can be expected in the months ahead," says Flint Pulskamp, program manager for IDC's research on Wireless Semiconductors.
Pulskamp adds that next year will reveal much more about WiMAX acceptance by consumers. "With competing technologies closing the performance gap, this will be a critical period for WiMAX's future."
Should WiMAX demand increase, manufacturers will develop economies of scale to allow the technology's integration with a wider variety of products, says IDC. Such products may include digital cameras, personal media players, and mobile phones.
Challenges to adoption
While IDC sees good potential for widespread WiMAX adoption, it also notes some deployment challenges, such as quality of service as well as reliability and power consumption of the chipset.
Cost is another issue, although increased production is expected to lower chipset costs, IDC says. WiMAX operators will also need a viable technology upgrade path to help justify further infrastructure investments.
Such challenges need to be overcome for WiMAX's potential to be maximized, IDC adds.
"As WiMAX debuts and the first generation of products hit the market, the industry will quickly assess the adoption and future potential of WiMAX as a viable technology," says Pulskamp. "If the early results are promising, then we can expect some significant shifts in the vendor base and supply chain as major chipset vendors move into the market."