While the wireless industry is just barely getting settled on the original WiMax standard, the WiMax Forum Industry Group is hard at work on its successor. According to Engadget via ComputerWorld, "The standard is due to be finalized in November, then hardware is expected to be ratified through 2011 before getting bolted to towers in 2012 where it will, thankfully, be fully compatible with O.G. WiMAX devices."
The WiMax 2 standard is theoretically expected to bring download speeds of up to 1 Gbps. WiMax 2 is also known as 802.16m and will be backwards compatible with 802.16e (WiMax). This backwards compatibility will result in much cheaper upgrades for Clearwire. Clearwire recently sent shockwaves through the industry when it discussed the possibility of adopting the LTE standard -- WiMax's competitor.
Declan Byrne, Marketing Director for the WiMax group, stated that he was surprised by the announcement that Clearwire made regarding LTE. However, he also stated that he is confident that Clearwire will not abandon WiMax. In fact, he believes that with their wide wireless spectrum, they may choose to adopt both technologies. Both technologies are coming of age in a time when the wireless market is experiencing large growth. Cisco projects that mobile internet traffic will double every year until 2013.
The biggest reason for this growth in traffic is video. Video will account for approximately 2/3 of mobile internet traffic in 2013. Cisco believes that mobile internet traffic will reach around 1.3 million TB per month by then. With the advent of high definition stereoscopic 3D content, this may very well happen.