We’ve been hearing about WiMAX for years, but the mobile technology has yet to take off as a viable alternative to existing Wi-Fi connectivity for the public at large. However, a recent decision by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to include the technology in the IMT-2000 standard – which includes GSM and 3G cellular technologies – is likely to boost its adoption in 2008, which is being touted by Intel as “the year of WiMAX.”
While we may not see any big changes happening in the United States yet, since the restrictions that this clears up over in Europe aren’t an issue stateside, the acceptance opens the way for many ITU member countries to devote a part of the public radio spectrum to WiMAX instead of slower UMTS and EDGE technologies. Intel stands to be a big winner from the ITU approval, as the company has a stake in WiMAX vendors like Freedom4 in several countries, and it plans to support the technology in notebooks as standard from next year.
WiMAX is also slowly but surely laying down its roots in the US market, with Sprint and Clearwire combining their efforts to create a nationwide WiMAX network, and with an array of WiMAX-supported notebooks and devices from manufacturers inching ever closer to hit retail shelves.