Wireless networking is about to take it’s next big step next spring with the introduction of WiMax. WiMax is to Wi-Fi what DSL was to Dial-up. Actually, WiMax Is to DSL what DSL was to Dial up. To put it plainly, it’s Wireless Internet from you Internet provider. You no longer need to connect your DSL or Cable line to a wireless router so that you can roam freely in you home or office. Now all you will need is a wireless card in your laptop to roam the city. No more having to find hotspots. Almost takes the fun out of it, er, no it doesn’t.
WiMax is promising speeds up to 75Mbps and a range of 30 miles. Not too shabby compared to your 1.5Mbps to 3Mbps speed from your DSL/Cable connection. Or your Wi-Fi router with only about 100ft range. The technology that makes WiMax possible is very similar to Wi-Fi or Cellular networks. It will have basestations like cell towers and wireless cards like Wi-Fi. That’s not to say they combined the two technologies, no they are all as much different as they are similar.
As with any new technology there is an argument taking place about weather it will catch on or not. Truthfully, from what you just read wouldn’t you pay $20-$30 more a month for WiMax than you are paying now for DSL/Cable. And that’s with out me telling you all the good stuff. That’s right there is much more good stuff. At least on one side of the argument.
I think everyone agrees that Intel has become the driving force behind WiMax. And some say they think that Intel will abandon the idea when they realize it’s not cost effective. Umm, Intel was the driving force behind Wi-Fi when it wasn’t cost effective. It didn’t stop them then, why would it stop them now. They are also working with a number of other companies who are starting to manufacture WiMax products to create products that interoperate. Meaning you will be able to move from one vendors WiMax network to another seamlessly. Sounds like the beginning of something great.
Now keep in mind that this is going to be the fist generation of WiMax. Your not going to get the 75Mbps piped into your laptop while driving down the road initially. No most laptops are not even going to be WiMax capable till 2007. At first you will have a “WiMax router” for lack of the more sophisticated term, much like the wireless router you have now. Only no Line coming in from the telephone or cable company. Then it will progress to cards for your Laptop from there.
I think we are going to see some very exciting things from WiMax. I can think of a hundred different ways this can help most of us in our everyday lives. And when you start combining WiMax, Wi-Fi, Cellular, even RFID technologies into one device the possibilities are limitless.