April 23, 2008 3:00 PM BST
The question of will you get good coverage in all areas of London or not with WiMAX versus another technology. Isn't a question about technology at all.
Its actually a question about who your provider is, what frequencies they have, what their business model is, what their network deployment rollout timeplans are, etc.
The chances of any operator (apart from the existing 5 mobile operators) building out a national coverage wireless broadband network is remote. The market is already fierce without strong competition and high costs. In my view you will see any new entrant focused on providing coverage in sweet spots, according to the demographics of their targetted markets.
Access to low frequencies is key to providing good coverage, and unfortunately in the UK, WiMAX does not have access to these frequencies. WiMAX today has access to 3.5GHz and 5.8GHz, and potentially after the 2.6GHz spectrum auction in the UK in September 2008, 2.6GHz also.
However, turning to BBC R&D, you will see that for any radio technology, the chosen frequency plays a major part in investment and operating costs. A deployment to offer the same coverage and service levels in 2.6GHz on average will require 4.5 times the number of sites than using 700MHz. Using 3.5GHz you would require 6.5 times the number of sites than using 700MHz. The number of sites is critical to any radio network deployment. The more sites, the larger your site rental and rate fees, the more dispersed your transmission network, the more radio nodes you need to purchase, and maintain etc.
The long and the short of it is that those with higher frequencies above the current 3G frequency of 2.1GHz are goingt o have increased costs to provide the same coverage and service levels.
After this, adding on discussions on the implications of a technology choice and the impacts upon number of sites, the situation just gets worse I am afraid.
Personally I would suggest that the mobile operators are going to be at the forefront of the wave providing high speed wireless broadband. For yourself today, you could consider a) changing operator for one with better coverage, check http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/ to determine the location of your operators nearest cell site, and see if another operator appears to perhaps offer better coverage. Alternatively, you could consider the use of a Fixed Wireless Router instead of the dongle. A fixed wireless router will provide you with consistently better coverage and peak rates (as well as is better for the network), and it will also allow you to connect multiple laptops/desktops/printers up via WiFi also.