Well, it’s WiMax World Week in Chicago, and from news reports, the attendance has almost doubled. WiMax (802.16) is a technology that works a lot like Wi-Fi Wireless Networks but has much greater range since it uses empty frequencies to provide wireless Internet just about anywhere. WiMax speeds are 4Mbit/sec at their best right now. Sprint/Nextel is setting up a service with Clearwire that will cover 100 million people by the end of next year, and demos of WiMax seem to be going better and better.
Wimax World had some buzz about demos of new technology – mostly related to compatibility and backhaul issues. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the end-devices of course. I’ll go out on a limb to say if Apple produces a Newton 2, it will natively support WiMax, and that WiMax will drive a revolution in mobile device simplification (tablets, thin clients) as well as mobile application (video, dynamic news, conferencing.) Intel showed an integrated WiMax card on a laptop at WiMax World. One thing that Sprint said was that the costs of WiMax devices and services will be like using 3G, but they won’t give out SLAs.
USA Today provided this list…
•Cincinnati shelved its plan last week for a citywide network because the market is too unstable.
•The Silicon Valley plan for free Wi-Fi is at risk after providers decided local governments must be “anchor tenants” for the service.
•Springfield, Ill., is looking for another partner after AT&T dropped Wi-Fi plans last month.
•St. Louis is trying to figure out how to power Wi-Fi transmitters on 1,700 street lights when they’re not illuminated without spending millions of dollars.
Until then I guess we’ll need to hover around hotspots.