Looks like it wasn’t long before the phone companies figured out a way to get into the long range wireless markets for mobile media. I’ve been reading that WiMax is coming out later this year and the major communication companies have been throwing in a lot of resources to help this technology along. There are several major applications for this technology and it’s very different than Wifi.
Wifi is a short range signal used mostly for local uses and private networks. It’s hard to build a large base coverage area with the current Wifi technology and the way the data is sent back and forth. I had a dream once that I was going to set up my own Wifi antenna and broadcast a signal to my neighbors. Then I could go around and ask them if they want to gain access and pay a small fee to have unlimited Internet. I was thinking about this idea over 5 years ago and figuring out ways to do it. However, with Wifi and technology it just wasn’t possible to broadcast to that many people without having lots of access points and ways for the data to be sent. That is where WiMax is different.
WiMax is long range microwave signals that can travel much farther and send data differently that is allowing it to be more scalable. This technology is set up with a similar application like a cell phone tower, which can be lower cost and delivers to a higher number of people. In fact there are entire countries, Pakistan being the leading in the world in use of this technology, that are using it as a means to deliver Internet, VOIP, and other services to rural areas. WiMax also has the ability to link up current hot spots. This means it can be deployed to connect smaller Wifi networks into larger more scalable networks and deliver it to a greater area. There are a few companies that are currently working within these spectrum of microwave and each is looking to become the standard in their newly formed WiMax Alliance, which oversees the development and regulation of this technology. Sprint and a few other major communication and media companies are investing into this technology and looking at ways it can be developed and applied. You can learn more about WiMax at the Wiki page or the WiMax Forum.
I’m curious how this new technology will effect other VOIP systems and products like Skype. Will it introduce a new range of products that instead of connecting to Wifi networks, would connect to WiMax networks that would give it a better range and most likely increased connectivity? I would hope so and look forward to seeing more of what WiMax has to offer.