Constantly Connected: Beyond WiFi and Bluetooth.


Constantly Connected: Beyond WiFi and Bluetooth

Technology leaders are pushing the envelope of wireless connectivity well beyond WiFi and Bluetooth. The speed and availability of wireless that we enjoy today promises to be bigger and better as the next generation of standards becomes more pervasive: think constant connectivity at significantly higher speeds and lower costs. Here's a quick overview of emerging wireless standards to watch:

WiMax (802.16e)

Intel's latest wireless technology, WiMax, delivers wireless broadband connections ranging from one to 10 miles, compared to the 150-foot range of WiFi connections available in many offices and public hotspots today. WiMax is being positioned as a complement to WiFi and an alternative to DSL and cable Internet access in homes today. Although it will be a couple of years before the benefits of WiMax are evident to the mobile user, Intel and major telecom providers are pushing the technology into rural areas where the current hard-wired broadband systems don't reach. If Intel and partners are successful in implementing the WiMax vision, mobile professionals will be able to retire their hotspot finders, because connections will be available everywhere we go. On another note, because WiMax reduces the need for wired provider networks, the wireless broadband market will open up to startups and more intense competition among the major providers, which equates to more options and lower bills for our at-home Internet access.

Mobile-Fi (802.20)

Mobile-Fi, AKA Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA), is a similar standard to WiMax, and it seems to be losing the race for industry acceptance. This is probably due to the massive market power of Intel and Alcatel vs. Mobile-Fi's smaller primary backers, Flarion Technologies and Navini Networks. Mobile-Fi differs from WiMax in that it can deliver broadband Internet access to users traveling at...

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