Is there a place for 5.8 GHz WiMAX?

Fujitsu recently announced that they’re now shipping a 5.8GHz WiMAX baseband SoC (system-on-a chip) to partners and customers worldwide. The chip can support base station designs and subscriber unit implementations. This is another sign that license-free WiMAX is moving forward. Fujitsu recently announced that they’re now shipping a 5.8GHz WiMAX baseband SoC (system-on-a chip) to partners and customers worldwide. The chip can support base station designs and subscriber unit implementations. This is another sign that license-free WiMAX is moving forward.

Many argue, however, that the heaviest proliferation of WiMAX will be in the licensed spectrum. For example, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have been making huge investments in the deployment of licensed-band WiMAX networks in the U.S. An advantage of licensed spectrum is that it’s relatively free from interference, which may offer a more stable operating environment. A strong advantage of unlicensed frequencies, though, is lower hardware costs as the equipment proliferates, but range may be less than some of the lower frequency licensed bands.

I’m interested in knowing your thoughts. Do you think license-free 5.8GHz will find a place in the muni wireless market?

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Jim Geier provides independent consulting services to municipalities deploying wireless networks and is Principal Consultant of Civitium (


  1. Reggie Pugh says:

    Good Question!

    If it is licensed FREE, I would see even Cisco jumping into the WiMAX scene. They have been sitting on the sidelines on WiMAX.

    The question is will all these device play nicely with the FCC rules regarding some of the Transmit Power Control in the 5 GHz range for Wi-Fi? If they are looking at using frequencies outside of that scope then, I say they will corner more customers than Sprint or Clearwire , just because they are licensed.

  2. Peter Curnow-Ford says:


    Many would say that 5.8GHz should have been the first frequency released and certified, that way the many operators for whom unlicensed is the only way forward could have have got on and built out WiMAX (and made some money) while the licensed guys could use it to play around prior to committing huge investments.

    As it is the unlicensed guys are till waiting for their opportunity.


  3. Anthony Bisong says:

    When will the unlicensed Wimax equipments start rolling out? Does anyone know the cost of these equipments? Due to the limitation in range of the Muni Mesh Wifi I am very interest in the Wimax unlicense technology.

  4. Yes. I agree with Peter.
    5.8/5.4 Ghz Wimax equipment (we use Motorola Canopy) would be just fantastic. Our main problem (a part from equipment cost 3 x US cost) today is having to have LOS to our cluster. I would sincerily be looking forward to true NLOS 5.4/5.8 Ghz equipment.

  5. Jacomo says:

    Unlicensed 5Ghz range of radios based on WiMAX is a natural, assuming we can get most of the WiMAX features and a LOS to our customer, which vendors (Airspan and Trango) have said they can deliver.
    Commercial customers (T-1 replacements and 10-20Mbps IP links etc.) will be the bread and butter (real profits vs. Mobile)of these new WiMAX Licensed services, especially in major downtown metro markets that allow their 2.5Ghz radios to leverage multipath (OFDM) NLOS capabilities.
    My contention is that if I have Line Of Site between my base station and a customer premise, I can easily deploy a 5.3-5.8Ghz Point to Point or even PTMP system providing very high quality 20-60Mbsp + of service-with excellnet QoS.

    High End: The Motoroal Orthogon radios (expensive)I can get exceptional quality links 60+Mbps with 999.95 reliability over 2-10 miles.
    Mid RAnge: If you want a big pipe you can get a very inexpensive TrangoLink 45 PTP (ODM based) radio and deliver a solid 45Mbps over 10 + Miles with LOS.They also provide a nice PTMP Radio w/low cost CPE.

    It will be interesting to watch how these new 5Ghz Unlicensed radios target the lucrative commercial market,leveraging these WiMAX feature sets to compete with both the 2.5Ghz Licensed WiMAX systems as well as some of these underpowered (single and dual radio) Muni Wireless Mesh systems.

    These 5Ghz WiMAX capable systems will also be very strong in the backhaul space.


  6. WiMAX at 5.8GHz is currently available in Canada using equipment from Nortel (and likely others).

  7. Hi,

    Deploying 5GHZ Wimax in the city which has a lot of interference, what would be the best solution.

  8. 5.8ghz is a LOS spectrum. What is the benefit of having WiMAX standard on this spectrum? The shortcoming of 5.8 is distance, and it won’t go through objects, does the wimax standard fix that?

  9. Of course, and there is what needs to improve. Since reaching the market of small companies in telecommunications, this huge market.

    Here in Brazil for example, there is a huge market for products wimax in 5.8Ghz. ISP that I known, is more than 3,000 against 6 large companies.

  10. Adrian McDonnell says:

    Could anyone tell me if i require any license/documents to operate a 5.8Ghz analogue video network in Brazil.I have searched on the web for 4 hrs and i am very confused.

    Thank you.

  11. Adrian,

    You might want to check with the WiMAX Forum as they keep a list of countries and WiMAX spectrum information about those countries.

  12. Adrian McDonnell says:

    Thanks ESME VOS, i have checked the website and it states that for Brazil 5.8Ghz is a no restriction band.Could anybody tell me if i require the product to be CE and EEC approved for the use in Brazil or is there a different approval requirement in Brazil.

    Any with this matter would be gratefully recieved.