Friday, June 08, 2007

Wimax for Africa

The WiMAX Forum, formed in 2001 is an initiative to promote wireless broadband interoperability. The wireless standard in question is a little different from the one you’re probably used to (802.11) which is used for regular Wi-Fi. WiMAX improves upon Wi-Fi’s two most glaring weaknesses – Range & Security.

WiMAX is one of the keys to bringing Africa back into the fold. The biggest barrier to broadband access in developing countries has always been that ‘last kilometre’ – from the telecom’s switching facility to the customers house. The cost of making it work is currently extremely inhibitive, and this is where WiMAX comes in. Ease of installation and deployment costs actually reduce the barriers to entry for smaller players, other than the telecom monopolies. WiMAX base stations are giving good coverage for up to 15 KM distances or more which is phenomenal.

Currently, according to Intel’s former CEO and current chairman, WiMAX is undergoing 100 trials worldwide in preparing for its commercialisation.
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