Sunday, May 09, 2004

I want WiMax (or something like it)

The L.A. Times has a story about WiMax. It is a 30-mile version of broadband WiFi. I cannot begin to say how much I want this to happen.

In the last three weeks alone, I have wanted to throw my laptop during transmissions due to slow dial-up speed. Each time I was on a super-tight deadline, I was also at very accommodating venues. Two years ago, it would have been considered heaven to have a dry, climate-controlled area with a power outlet, working dial-up and a working surface.

Now, I want more. I’m spoiled. I want WiFi. I want it everywhere.

I find myself wondering why these extremely nice professional and college sports and performance venues with multiple public relations flaks don’t have a darn WiFi connection. Not for the media specifically, but for themselves and their skybox clients. The answer is 300 feet.

WiFi only works for 300 feet. I want it to go further. I want to transmit 1 or 2 Meg images from anywhere at a reasonable speed. I am willing to sit in the dust at Will Roger Coliseums (I know what it really is, but humor me here) as long as I can transmit NOW.

Currently, I prepare images on location. Once I’m done, I drive to the nearest Hot Spot to transmit. Once the images appear to have been sent properly, I call on my cellular phone to verify images are received and proper noun spellings.

I shouldn’t need to drive to the closest Hot Spot. Once the images are ready, I should be able to open the airport and send.

During a tight deadline in Waco, the images were taking 7 minutes each on a phone line. I transmitted the best three primary-deadline images from the location (21 minutes), then packed up and drove across town to find a WiFi connection to transmit second deadline images. Images over the air took less than 45 seconds each for eight more images (6 minutes).

I’ve sent as fast as 6 seconds before (keep your hands inside the compartment at all times).

As always, the ability to have WiMax (or something like it) will boil down to money. Will the return on investment be worth the risk. Intel is in favor of others taking the risk because it means LOTS of new laptop computer sales. The real question is whether Intel or any laptop manufacturers are willing to shoulder some of the start up WiMax costs to convince the buyers to invest in the laptops.

If the new laptops are only useful in developing countries – as proposed – then there is no incentive for Americans or Europeans to buy. If the computer manufacturing industry wants to get some of the money spent at the ballpark or shopping mall, then they must make the laptops useful at these same places.

Enough for now,


Richard said...

I work for and I agree totally Wimax is a fantastic solution to wireless internet both for mobile devices and offices in congested towns and city’s. We can normally install it into a London office within 14 days and setup is usually free.

We are waiting for more portable Wimax products to hit the market to drive down cost.

Mark M. Hancock said...

In the US, most PJs have gone to AT&T or Verizon wireless broadband because WiMax didn't move fast enough. These work anywhere there is a cell signal, so it's better than WiMax.