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WiMAX: The Future of Wireless Broadband?

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WiMAX, the next generation in the evolution of wireless Internet connectivity, has really taken the idea to brand new heights. The ability of WiMAX to support next generation data cards which have a connectivity of 2Mbps is simply outstanding. In India the concept of data cards has been around for quite some time now thanks to the likes of Reliance, Tatatele, etc., but the kind of service offered by them and the connectivity has been very disappointing. WiMAX's ability to replace the conventional method of watching channels over cable with IPTV, wired broadband, and more is an added advantage.

The most profound advantage of WiMAX over WiFi is its ability to offer excellent connectivity without line-of-sight availability. It can offer a connectivity circle with an amazing radius of six miles providing businesses and households with speeds of T1 and DSL respectively.

In simple terms WiMAX is comparable to our mobile phone connections with the primary purpose of high speed wireless broadband while the latter carries voice signals as its primary objective. The concept of high speed connectivity can be truly achieved with WiMAX rather than with the conventional GSM/CDMA networks. Reliance Communications has already started to provide 2Mbps connections over WiMAX in India. The TATAs have gone a step further by announcing plans to roll out WiMAX nationwide, the largest network anywhere in the world of high-speed, wireless technology.

The underlying power within the concept of WiMAX can be unleashed only when it hits technologies like notebooks and hand-helds. Nokia expects data traffic to increase by a significant 75% in 2008 with future devices offering better and better services.

The year 2008 will be seen as the emergence of next gen wireless technology. Several companies have revealed their WiMAX plans. Nokia has already formally announced that Intel will provide the WiMAX technology for its Internet tablets to hit the stands later this year, whereas Intel is preparing its own Centrino chips to provide WiMAX connectivity to its notebooks which will be available around June or July this year. Intel has reportedly invested a whopping two billion dollars in this technology.

The recent news about WiMAX being called a disaster by Garth Freeman, CEO of Buzz Broadband – Australia's first WiMAX operator – was quite disturbing. But the interest from the likes of Intel, Nokia, and Reliance Communications made me think otherwise, meaning there was more to it than meets the eye. And then I came across an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, which blamed Buzz Broadband’s cost cutting for the failure of its WiMAX service. But one thing is for sure — WiMAX is a very promising technology and by the year's end we should know how real it is!

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About Ankur Agarwal

Ankur Agarwal is a technology and mobile enthusiasts. He has been an internet entrepreneur for over a decade, currently he is building PriceBaba, a product research engine for the Indian market. You can speak to him on twitter @annkur.
  • I’m not sure how appealing something like WiMax is to me. I have fiber at my house, with 15Mbps. As a fixed-location technology, it seems slow. If I can get WiMax speeds anywhere using a card in my laptop, that’s different.

  • Phillip, by year end WiMax will be like wifi. It will be in our handhelds and notebooks…cheers

  • Jonathan Scanlan

    The biggesst drawback with WiMax is that the signal takes up more space on the non-visible spectrum – competing with radio, television and mobile phone signals.

    Granted, in due course WiMax could absorb all these signals, but at the end of the day it is capped by the restricted space available. And as the internet comes to demand more and more data for less and less available space, you’re going to inflate the price of getting online.

    That’s why we need an effective cabling approach, because as we upgrade and add to the network, we’re also increasing supply.

  • Jonathan

    Hi Jonathan

    Yes i have heard of WiMax interfering with other frequencies .. I also heard of different frequencies at which WiMax operates. But frankly I never got into the depth of these.. Will appreciate if someone can add on it..

    Keep Posting

  • bliffle

    In small geographically contained areas fiber cable is cheap and provides excellent service. It can be easily integrated into a citizen controlled municipal network. Fiber moves traffic out of the RF spectrum.

    But Municipal WiFi still has an important role for making network access universally available at modest speeds for ‘free’, i.e., no nagging hookup cost. Most of us can get that now, in small islands of access, simply by going to our local coffee shop, often within easy walking distance, for the price of a cup of coffee.

  • John Broadbent

    Whatever happened to WiMax? It was all the buzz a few years ago and not that nettops and tablets are surging onto the market the WiMax revolution seems to have gone quiet. Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole concept of wireless broadband is sound but I just don’t see any developments taking place in what should be a rapidly spreading technology.