CNet: What's The Big Deal About WiMax?
October 3, 2008 at 6:12 AM (PT)
While still not right around the corner, the coming of wireless broadband service will have a major impact on radio. Listeners will have the ability to dial into almost an infinite number of online radio stations -- some from traditional terrestrial broadcasters -- but many from webcasters. CNET.COM's MARGUERITE REARDON has posted a good overview about WiMax, writing:
SPRINT NEXTEL has made headlines all week as it's started lighting up its first 4G wireless network using a technology called WiMax. But what exactly is WiMax? And how does it fit into the future of wireless? Here's a primer to help you sort it out.
What is WiMax?
The acronym WiMax stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. It's an IP-based wireless technology that can accommodate fixed, portable and mobile usage models, according to the WiMax Forum. It's considered a promising next-generation wireless technology, because it supports high data rates and has a long transmission reach. Before it was standardized in 2004, there were many non-standard versions of the technology being developed throughout the world, including KOREA's WiBro technology.
What can WiMax be used for?
The primary purpose of WiMax is to offer wireless broadband. Originally, it was used to provide broadband to places where there was no wired infrastructure. This is how most of the 350 deployments throughout the world use the technology today.
A mobile version of the technology was approved in 2005 by the IEEE standards body. This version, known as 802.16e, allows the technology to be embedded into laptops, tablet PCs, smartphones, and consumer electronic devices like digital cameras so they can connect to the Internet via WiMax while in motion. So for example, if you're walking down the street, riding on a train or traveling in a car, the 802.16e version of the technology will allow you to still access the Net.
Are there any WiMax devices available today?
There are some, but not many. That said, several large companies such as INTEL, NOKIA, and MOTOROLA have thrown their weight behind WiMax. And they promise to launch new components and devices to support the technology. But so far, devices with WiMax have been few and far between. NOKIA has announced the N810 "Portable Internet Tablet." SAMSUNG has announced a WiMax-capable Q1 Ultra Premium Mobile PC. And INTEL will soon be including WiMax in its laptop chipsets, which should help seed the market.
Read the full article here.