I read an article about WiMAX (Worldwide interoperability for Microwave Access), which talks about how WiMAX is a new technology set to take over wireless internet, cable/DSL, and possibly cellular broadband. The article also mentions the drawbacks of WiMAX and the possible competition that it has in the cellular market. To me, this wireless technology seems to be very promising method of expanding the web to the parts of the world that are hard to reach with wires or that have bad infrastructure. Cities such as Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Chicago have already installed WiMAX with companies such as Clear Wire leading the way. I see many more cities implementing it as a way to provide its citizens with free and fast wireless internet.
I think that WiMAX will take over cable/DSL because it is a lot easier and less expensive to install. It is also just as fast as cable, with no wire installation required in neighborhoods or cities. WiMAX requires only antennas, which give it a range of 10 kilometers, to be places on the highest building in the area. This way, with only one antenna, a large area can be covered with internet access. This is why WiMAX trumps WiFi, which only has a range of 30 meters indoors and 200 outdoors. Another thing that this “4G” wireless has over WiFi is that a user can go from one antenna to another without losing connection, unlike with WiFi hotspots. Although this technology is better than WiFi, companies are planning to use them side-by-side, since so many WiFi networks are already in place. The integration of the systems will just boost the speed of WiFi and greatly improve its coverage.
Companies that outsource will start using WiMAX to link their centers in other countries to HQ back in the U.S. Since it is a lot cheaper to install and covers a greater area, it will allow them to save money on starting new centers, especially in countries where there are no lines in place. This would also cut down on the time needed to start up the new centers.
Even though WiMAX is a great step forward in network technology, it has some drawbacks. If the antenna is obstructed, the speed greatly decreases, which should be at 30-40 Mbps. Also, if the network has many users connected to it, the speed will also decrease. It is effected by bad weather, as well. These are, in my opinion, very small problems, which are already being worked on in the new model that is to come in the near future.
As far as the cellular network is concerned, it does not look like WiMAX will advance into that sector. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is beating WiMAX out in the network for the name “4G.” Sprint originally adopted WiMAX mobile and then later changed to LTE. At the base, both systems are basically the same, except LTE is supposed to work at 100Mbps with an ideal connection. Also, it is a lot easier to make cellphones with LTE hardware than with WiMAX. This new system has great potential to improve and advance the internet and further connect the world.