WiMax: The next Wi-Fi?

WASHINGTON – A wireless technology that Sprint Nextel plans to launch within a year makes high-speed and secure Internet access possible from almost anywhere.

Called WiMax, it’s the heart of a huge telecommunications industry effort to supplant Wi-Fi, the service that most users rely on for wireless Internet connections at broadband speeds.

If it succeeds, WiMax technology could be as big a change as the mobile phone revolution. An independent technology consulting firm, Boston-based Yankee Group, estimates that 58 million people worldwide will use WiMax by 2012.

Unlike Wi-Fi, which relies on free radio frequencies that suffer from interference, WiMax uses a licensed channel of radio spectrum. It provides clearer, stronger and more secure Internet access. The stronger signal travels farther than Wi-Fi, enabling consumers to get beyond the limits of Wi-Fi “hotspots.”
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