WiMax? What’s that?

WiMax? What’s that?
Wouldn’t you know that the day I blog (again) about the lack of 3G cellphones in the U.S., something comes down the pike that may outdo 3G anyway!! It’s called “WiMax,” a powerful wireless technology for fixed-line telecoms using the Internet. Reuters reports that it has big backer in Intel.

WiMAX, an industry standard that travels under the alternative name “802.16,” and is also backed by Finland’s mobile phones and networks vendor Nokia, offers lightning fast wireless data communications over distances as far as 50 kilometers.

Compare that with the first 3G networks which, although much faster than today’s mobile phone networks, are 30 times slower than WiMAX, and one 3G radio mast covers an area 10 times smaller than WiMAX.

But mobile phone companies have shelled out 100 billion euros for radio frequency licenses to run 3G networks and are currently spending tens of billions on the networks. WiMAX radio spectrum can be free, and carriers need fewer base stations to operate it.

Operators who do not yet have a mobile network can start one at low cost, using their fully amortized fixed-line networks to connect the wireless traffic to the Internet, and start grabbing back revenues that have leaked away to mobile rivals.

Whoo boy, this is pretty significant! The article goes on to say that WiMax will likely begin in the U.S. and that consumers should have it in 3–4 years.
WiMAX is such a hot topic that Intel’s executive board discusses its progress as much as three times a week, and by 2006 plans to start building it into its chip platforms, which power around 80 percent of all personal computers.
Given the work of people like Drazen Pantic with WiFi, this is likely to have a profound impact on the local “television” world by the end of the decade. I mean, wireless data over 50 kilometers is enough to create lots of hyperlocal “broadcasting.”

And so it goes.

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