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Reuters reports that Intel is claiming it will have WiMax cards for laptops in 2006: The story, as usual, confuses fixed and mobile WiMax, reporting that “Wi-Max is seen by many in the field as a successor to Wi-Fi,” which isn’t what many people in the industry really think. Fixed WiMax is a fixed wireline replacement. Mobile WiMax is a threat to 3G cellular. Neither really overlaps the primary use of Wi-Fi, which remains indoor uses in which dense deployments (many homes, many apartments, campus-wide business service) remain the norm.
The article also notes that “Wi-Max has a much longer range, varying from a couple of miles in an urban area to 10 miles or more in open country.” Sure: for specific fixed WiMax installations. Mobile WiMax won’t have that kind of range because physics won’t allow distance, performance, and nomadic or mobile uses without extremely high signal strengths.
What Intel is talking about is mobile WiMax which is quite far from actual deployment, thus it’s strange that the company is gung-ho about embedding mobile WiMax receivers in laptops. In the US, especially, even basic issues of which frequencies would be used are still up in the air. There’s no certified standard and it’s likely months off or longer. The similar WiBro technology in South Korea may have a handhold there, already, but that’s a far cry from deployments worldwide that would require pre-installed cards.
There’s a big missing piece in this story, and I’m eager to hear more.
Posted by Glennf at March 7, 2006 4:33 PM
Everything has to start somewhere. Metcalfe's law states that the value of the network increases exponetionslly each time a new node is added to the network. For telco's and others to invest in WiMax and Mobile WiMax there has to be a market demand.
This way Intel are seeding the market so that there will be thousands of devices capable of mobile WiMax. HP has recently added builtin support for EVDO wireless broadband and this moves the mobile worker one step further away from the hotspot or office.
We all know in the future fast ubiquitous wireless broadband will be the norm. The questions are how and when.
Posted by: Sam Sethi at March 8, 2006 12:25 AM