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a technology that's cheap, easy and useful right now, and yet it's a
technology that's still very young. Here's a quick look at what the
future could hold for wireless.
The Radio and the Phone.
Wireless networks will always win over wired ones, in the end, simply because it's cheaper for signals to travel through the free air than it is to install and maintain wires. If you want an example of this, consider that telephones were originally used for sending and receiving news reports.
When radio was invented, this stopped almost overnight - why bother going to all that expense when it's free over the air?
It's the same way with computer networking. Imagine you have a choice between a wired Internet connection and a wireless one.
You remember that wireless networking today uses a standard called 802.11? Well, WiMAX is 802.16 - the next generation of wireless. It's still a work in progress, but the possibilities are exciting.
WiMAX stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, and is designed to complement existing wireless equipment rather than replace it. The biggest advantage of WiMAX is in its vastly increased range: instead of being measured in square metres, WiMAX ranges will be measured in square kilometres. Some say the strongest WiMAX stations could transmit for up to 50 kilometres - over 30 miles!
This obviously opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Wireless access would move from LANs to MANs: Metropolitan Area Networks, covering a whole town or city with wireless access. The question would no longer be whether there was a hotspot in the area where you were, but which of the many WiMAX networks you wanted to connect to.
Other benefits of WiMAX include speed of up to 70Mbps (almost 10 MB per second), and stronger security. Imagine a future where ordering Internet access is as simple as connecting your existing wireless equipment to the network, opening your web browser, and buying a low cost subscription.
That's it - done. No more access points, no more routers, no more configuration... just wireless Internet, everywhere. WiMAX is going to take the world by storm.
For the latest news on WiMAX, take a look at the WiMAX Weblog at http://wimax.weblogsinc.com, or visit the WiMAX Forum (a non-profit industry group set up to promote WiMAX) at http://www.wimaxforum.org. WiMAX has been in development since 2001 now, and the first WiMAX equipment is currently expected to hit the market as soon as the end of 2005.
Bluetooth in Everything.
While Bluetooth's most obvious purpose is to replace USB, it is designed so that it can eventually replace almost every wire there is (except power cables). That means that someday your TV could be connecting to your DVD player by Bluetooth, or your speakers could connect to your radio with it, and so on and on.
As you get older, expect to see fewer and fewer wires. I know people said the same thing about paper, but it turns out people like paper and don't want a 'paperless society'. How many people do you know who have a thing for wires? Exactly. Once someone figures out a way to provide reliable wireless power (better batteries?) we'll be set!
A Simpler Life.
When you read about the potential of wireless technology for a while, one thing sticks out in your mind: it all sounds so convenient.
Wires have so many flaws, especially when they go long distances, and the overall wireless project is to remove them from our lives - and then charge us less!
That has to be worth supporting, doesn't it?
I'll make a prediction now: I think that, within a decade, wireless access will be making everyone's life much easier, and they won't even notice it's there.
That's the future of wireless.
Published by Dunway Enterprises
WIRELESS NETWORKING INDEX
Information shown in any of the articles shown above
does not in any way constitute medical, financial or legal advice.
If you require such advice, you should seek appropriate professional guidance.
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