Depending on whom do you ask, you will get a different answer, but in general WiMAX is not really popular for cellular communications applications (smartphones and such). However, recent studies show how useful can bradoband wireless networks be for Smart Grids.

The IEEE Spectrum Magazine publishes an interesting news on the topic. The huge amount of connections and bandwidth that WiMAX deployments generate might make possible to actually link with each appliance or electric meter on the grid. The first advantage of such situation would be the capacity to centralize in real time all the information generated by the electrical grid at a much smaller scale, allowing a clear optimization in the grid management. However, other interesting applications might be possible.

Remote control of household electricity hogs like air conditioners, perhaps via a smartphone app; electricity price breaks at off-peak hours, leading to more automation for running appliances like dishwashers at night; and the ability to sell electricity generation (from solar panels) and storage (from a plug-in hybrid) back to the grid.

Disadvantages will obviously arise since, for example, WiMAX networks will have to deal and transmit over an extra of 300 Gb per year – for a small sized city -. Some studies, however, show how cost will be also a reason to aim for wireless in order to manage Smart Grids. The cost of installation will be much lower than for the case of Power Line Broadband.

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