WiMax — a microwave-based technology defined by the IEEE 802.16e standard for broadband wireless access – has the potential to provide wireless-network access across distances as great as 30 miles. Sprint is working on a WiMax network that will reach two miles, which is still vastly better than the few hundred feet most WLAN methods provide.
WiMax could revolutionize wireless networking by eliminating tiny hotspots in favor of broad access zones – reducing the amount of equipment needed to cover an area, but increasing the potential security and access concerns WiFi has already raised.
Analysts have predicted that Intel’s support could put a rocket booster on the growth of WiMax, in much the same way it did for WiFi by building wireless access into its Centrino notebook chip sets.
While it’s been shipping WiMax-enabled chips for two years, Intel has made something of a tradition out of announcing the imminent ubiquity of the capability in mainstream laptops:
April 7, 2007: Intel to build WiMAX into laptops in 2008
Oct. 6, 2006: Intel reveals wireless connectivity roadmap – Wi-Fi N, WiMAX and HSDPA on laptops next year
July 24, 2006: Intel announces mobile WiMax chip
April 18, 2005: Intel Debuts First WiMAX Chip
Jan. 24, 2004: Intel Preps for WiMax Chips
July 2, 2004: Intel: WiMAX in notebooks by 2006