#10: Biggest Stories of 2006: 802.20 Standards

There was a lot of discussion this year about the 802.20 standards, making it a big story for 2006.  Unfortunately, there still aren’t any standards.  As I discussed in June, the main reason is politics.

This is a classic case of “Big Bell Dogma,” where one party, which is threatened by advances in mobility, actively works to slow the adoption of the technologies that are threatening. 

It would appear that, for years, the 802.20 standards were slowed by Qualcomm, who likely felt threatened by the leading candidate technologies from a startup called Flarion.  Well, eventually Qualcomm acquired Flarion and aggressively started pushing the standards forward based on Flarion/Qualcomm intellectual property.

However, it would appear that Intel feels threatened by 802.20 standardization progress.  Intel, a key proponent of WiMax technologies based on the 802.16 family of standards, complained (perhaps accurately) that Qualcomm had gained too much influence over the 802.20 standards body.  Perhaps Intel’s desire was to slow the standardization to enable Intel’s technologies to gain market traction.

The net result, the IEEE decided that it was time to completely restructure the 802.20 standards group and effectively start over.  In short, another year lost in terms of progress on this potentially powerful mobility standard.

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