For several years, thanks to a big marketing push by Intel, we have been using Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet without tethering our computers with wires. While Wi-Fi has its benefits, the limits are becoming more apparent as people download more and larger files, upload more data (such as voice calls, images, and videos), and have longer distance needs. So here comes WiMAX.
WiMAX is a relatively new technology that enables communication over a maximum distance of 30 miles; the longer the distance, the slower the speed, but it’s still faster and has a longer range than Wi-Fi, which has a maximum distance of 300 feet.
What does this mean for your business? If you are now using DSL and T1 lines and wish there was an alternative or if you’ve been frustrated at the slowness of Wi-Fi and mobile broadband, WiMAX is an alternative and better solution. However, it will take several more months (or perhaps longer than a year) for WiMAX to be as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi.
In the same way that Wi-Fi ushered in a new world of hardware (access points and Wi-Fi cards), WiMAX will go through a similar maturation. Companies will begin to use WiMAX to communicate from office to office, relatively near to each other, and provide campuswide wireless connectivity to employees. Employees’ computers will need to use new WiMAX cards to connect to these new networks. Next, or at the same time, public places such as airports, parks, and coffee shops will be outfitted with WiMAX access points.
As the market matures, WiMAX hardware and use prices will lower, just as in the case of Wi-Fi and cellular phone plans.
Ramon Ray is a technology evangelist and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com. He is the author of Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses and has written numerous technology articles and technology news posts. He produced the first, second, and third Small Business Summit; he has appeared on CNBC’s The Big Idea and serves on the board of directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.