Even though WiMAX service is still limited to a few markets, apparently there is enough interest in the technology that several vendors are already planning an upgrade. In a press release
issued this morning, a consortium of companies consisting of Intel, Samsung, Motorola and others have announced intentions to collaborate on the development of the WiMAX 2 standard and accelerate adoption by forming the WiMAX 2 Collaboration Initiative.
The new 4G technology -- built on 802.16m specifications -- should be backwards compatible with its predecessor and will reportedly reach peak download rates up to 300 Mbps. This is more than double the peak theoretical speeds of current WiMAX networks. WiMAX 2 also has lower latency than WiMAX and will offer a higher capacity for bandwidth consuming services like VoIP.
The group will issue detailed milestones and delivery schedules within the next three to six months with the goal of certifying the first commercial products by late 2011.
Currently, WiMAX has seen its fair share of adoption in Europe and other parts of the world but not so much in the United States. Sprint and Clearwire are slowly rolling out WiMAX service to major cities around the country, while other major carriers will be deploying their own 4G networks using LTE technology by the end of 2010 or early 2011.