Boat Ride on the WiMax River
We once dreamed of free municipal WiFi. Now, we'll settle for cheap WiMax, the new standard that will offer WiFi-like speeds but with about ten times the range, which cuts down on the number of towers needed in a coverage area. Tech website Ars Technica was on the Chicago River earlier this week for Sprint's demonstration of its new XOHM WiMax service. The testers were given laptops with XOHM plug-in cards and Motorola cell phones hooked up to the network.
Sprint put up four towers (map and locations) that cover 0.8 miles of the Chicago river. As the journalists, marketing people, execs, and analysts got cozy on the S.S. Summer of George, they tested streaming video, streaming audio, web pages, and VOIP. Speeds were reported as double that of Verizon’s current wireless technology, and it seems that it was comparable to a home cable or DSL connection (3229Kbps down and 1500Kbps up with a 70ms ping...now readjust your pocket protector).
If the speeds hold true when the Chicago network is fully deployed around March or April 2008, it should make the city's plan for municipal WiFi obsolete and give users another option in the home service provider market. So start learning how to pronounce XOHM (like "home," with a Z).
Image via WallyG