Although Clearwire’s WiMAX deployment is still in its early stages, Dell has recently jumped onboard to support the wireless technology with optional modules for a couple of its notebooks. Specifically, customers who order a Dell Studio 17 or Dell Studio XPS 16 will see a WiMAX/802.11n option for a $60 upgrade price from the 802.11g default wireless card.
While the WiMAX option is certainly a nice addition, users won't get any benefit from it unless they are living in one of the few areas where coverage is available – namely on Atlanta, Portland, and select areas within the city of Baltimore. Clearwire plans to cover eight markets this year, however, and 80 in total by 2010. The technology can theoretically offer peak download rates of about 2 to 4 Mbps.
Dell is also looking at offering Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity in notebooks, although it has yet to offer any specific details. Verizon Wireless plans to launch an LTE network by the end of this year, with wider commercial service rolling out next year to compete with WiMAX for 4G wireless broadband connections.