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WiMAX wireless goes portable

May 31, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

ABI Research has released a report on 802.16 WiMAX wireless, suggesting that the “last mile” technology may reach portable and mobile devices sooner than many observers expected. Optional specifications in 802.16 can boost receiver sensitivity to the point of making WiMAX PC cards and built-in receivers practical for laptops, PDAs, and other portable devices, according to ABI.

WiMAX is designed to operate over a range of “tens of kilometers,” according to the WiMAX forum. The specifications were developed primarily to provide an alternative broadband Internet access in situations where wired technologies such as DSL and cable are either impractical or not available.

In its present form, WiMAX requires a fixed subscriber station with an outdoor antenna. A mobile version, 802.16e, won't be ready for some time yet. In the meantime, says ABI, at least two smaller companies — TeleCIS and Sequans — are utilizing the optional specs cited by ABI in their WiMAX chipsets.

According to senior analyst Philip Solis, this means that “There may be WiMAX PC cards on the market earlier than many observers have expected. These will result from superior chipsets permitting the use of WiMAX in laptops and similar devices in homes and offices within the reach of fixed WiMAX transmissions. You will not have full mobility as you will with 802.16e, but you will have some portability.”

ABI's report, “WiMAX/802.16: Opportunities for High Speed Wireless Data in Enterprise, SOHO, Residential and Portable (802.16e) Markets”, looks at the “drivers for, and barriers to, WiMAX.” It profiles companies involved with the technology as well as some companies that will “consciously avoid WiMAX,” according to ABI. More information on the report is available here.

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