Cisco dumps its WiMAX base station and modem business

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Clearwire may be optimistic about the growth of WiMAX in 2010 and beyond but network hardware manufacturers are a bit more bearish on the 4G wireless technology. Last month, Alcatel Lucent announced it will be scaling back on its WiMAX equipment and focusing on LTE; while popular WiMAX chipset maker Beceem introduced a new WiMAX/LTE multi-mode chipset to be used in devices that will support both wireless technologies. The latest company to join this burgeoning WiMAX exodus is Cisco, which announced plans to discontinue the production of new WiMAX base stations and modems. Rather than provide the radios for the wireless 4G technology, Cisco is adopting a radio agnostic strategy and will focus on the IP network and IP equipment that runs behind the base stations and modems. This discontinuation is more symbolic than it is detrimental to Clearwire as most of the Cisco equipment purchased by Clearwire is IP and not radio equipment. Nonetheless, it is yet another indication that, though WiMAX currently has the lead, network hardware manufacturers see a bright future for LTE and are not willing to place all their eggs in the WiMAX basket. That’s certainly understandable.

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