WiMax May Pose Fresh Challenge to Broadband

Imagine a wireless hotspot the size of Philadelphia or a rural community in the American heartland. U.S. cities and companies are eyeing an emerging technology known as WiMax as a way to make high-speed wireless Internet services available in areas much larger that a typical Wi-Fi coffee bar or the local McDonald's. But it may prove difficult to make such services commercially viable, analysts say.

WiMax—touted as a potential spoiler for cable modems and other traditional Internet connections—was developed to beam the Internet across cities using radio networks with much wider ranges than Wi-Fi, a system used on laptops in coffee shops. Some broadband operators are considering WiMax as a way to expand their networks, and city administrators are looking to offer broadband services cheaply in public places such as parks or in low-income housing areas.

Such networks could erode the market for services such as cable modem and digital subscriber line (DSL) access over traditional phone lines. But the scarcity of suitable airwaves and wide availability of DSL and cable could stunt WiMax growth at least in the United States in the next few years.

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News source: eWeek

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