Why You'll Really Want WiMax

Frank Rose, Wired, Oct 20, 2004
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I read this item on the bus home from Fredericton last night touting, in Wired's usual restrained style, the next big thing in wireless access, WiMax, or the 802.16 wireless specification. Operating at below 11 Gigahertz, WiMax doesn't require line-of-site and can reach distances of 30 miles (50 kilometers) at 75 megabits per second (by contrast, the standard 802.11b wireless card runs at 11 megabits, and your ethernet local area network runs at 100). But don't throw away your landlines just yet; according to an article published by Reuters, WiMax is just hype - for now. "WiMAX enthusiasts sometimes claim that it will 'kill' Wi-Fi. Nothing could be further than the truth." Maybe not - there's nothing really broken with the 802.11 WiFi protocols. But for all the things that Wi-Fi won't do - like reach into your car - WiMax shows a world of potential.
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