Intel Technology Journal has an issue dedicated to WiMax. Here is how it sees the likely deployment scenario:
Service providers will operate WiMAX on licensed and unlicensed frequencies. The technology enables long distance wireless connections with speeds up to 75 megabits per second. (However, network planning assumes a WiMAX base station installation will cover the same area as cellular base stations do today.) Wireless WANs based on WiMAX technology cover a much greater distance than Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN), connecting buildings to one another over a broad geographic area. WiMAX can be used for a number of applications, including “last mile” broadband connections, hotspot and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for businesses.
Intel sees WiMAX deploying in three phases: the first phase of WiMAX technology (based on IEEE 802.16-2004) will provide fixed wireless connections via outdoor antennas in the first half of 2005. Outdoor fixed wireless can be used for high-throughput enterprise connections (T1/E1 class services), hotspot and cellular network backhaul, and premium residential services.
In the second half of 2005, WiMAX will be available for indoor installation, with smaller antennas similar to 802.11-based WLAN access points today. In this fixed indoor model, WiMAX will be available for use in wide consumer residential broadband deployments, as these devices become “user installable,” lowering installation costs for carriers.
By 2006, technology based on the IEEE 802.16e standards will be integrated into portable computers to support movement between WiMAX service areas. This allows for portable and mobile applications and services. In the future, WiMAX capabilities will even be integrated into mobile handsets.