The United Nations telecommunications agency in Geneva gave the upstart technology called WiMax a vote of approval, providing a sizable victory for Intel and something of a defeat for competing technologies from Qualcomm and Ericsson. The International Telecommunication Union's radio assembly agreed late Thursday to include WiMax, a wireless technology that allows Internet and other data connections across much broader areas than Wi-Fi, as part of what is called the third-generation family of mobile standards.
That endorsement opens the way for many of the union's member countries to devote a part of the public radio spectrum to WiMax, and receivers for it could be built into laptop computers, phones, music players and other portable devices. Unlike Wi-Fi, this mobile Internet technology can hand off a signal from antenna to antenna, thus allowing a device to hold a connection while in motion. WiMax potentially can move data at 70 megabits a second across 65 kilometers, or 40 miles. Current fixed-line broadband connections have speeds of about 2 megabits a second.