Magazine article Black Enterprise

Wi-Fi on Steroids: Will WiMAX Provide the Juice for Souped-Up Connections?

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Wi-Fi on Steroids: Will WiMAX Provide the Juice for Souped-Up Connections?

Article excerpt

You're on a train that's speeding toward New York City. You're putting the finishing touches on your big presentation; you just need to access the company intranet to grab that last bit of information. The connection slows to a crawl ... then drops. Now imagine being able to access the same intranet without interruption. That's the promise of WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) for the U.S.

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What is WiMAX? Think Wi-Fi on steroids. WiMAX is technology that moves your data and connects you faster and at greater distances than ever before. While Wi-Fi provides access via a local area network (LAN), on a specific network and within a certain range, WiMAX provides fixed, portable, nomadic, and soon, mobile connectivity over longer ranges (typically many miles, rather than the short range of Wi-Fi). The technology works in much the same way a cellular phone does service bounces from tower to tower so that the connection never drops. In terms of speed, Kirkland, Washington-based Clearwire advertises WiMAX speeds of up to 4Mbps for downloads, typical of the average WiMAX connection.

According to the WiMAX Forum, WiMAX technology has already been incorporated in notebook computers and PDAs, allowing urban areas and cities to become "metro zones" for portable outdoor broadband wireless access.

Mobile WiMAX technology has also been deployed in Korea for users who want to get online while either moving or outside.

"Because WiMAX can cover a broader area and has much greater throughput, you will get better coverage," says Chris Silva, an analyst of wireless and mobile operations at Boston-based Forrester Research. …

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