One might say that WiMAX hasn't actually lifted off yet and already there's talk from Intel partners about bringing about WiMAX 2. Unfortunately for the believers, this isn't really a new version, but a twist on old tech.
Samsung, which has been working with Intel on WiMAX '2' since April this year, will partner up with UQ Communications and demonstrate the technology at CEATEC, in Japan. The technology demo will operate a 330Mbps stream of 16 simultaneous HD videos just to prove it can be done.
The (draft) 802.11m is a rather promising improvement on the original spec and it delivers a theoretical 1Gbps for fixed wireless access and 100Mbps for mobile access. That's two-and-a-half times faster than the original WiMAX spec, if you're counting.
According to IDG, evolving WiMAX base stations into WiMAX 2 is a matter of firmware or, in the worst case scenario, swapping out a PCB, rather than buying a whole new base station, which makes those who jumped in without looking ahead very lucky companies indeed. It is also fully backward compatible with the original WiMAX spec.
This would explain why, while WiMAX is yet to be fully adopted by carriers, WiMAX 2 (802.11m) is already out coming out: there really is no reason for it not to be. According to Samsung, commercial deployments of WiMAX 2 will start in late 2011.
Sadly, Intel was not been on hand to pat Samsung in the back and fire a volley of WiMAX-lauding press releases. We guess they are too tied up with the purchase of Infineon's LTE business.