Wi-Max is Hype, but Will That Change?

Wi-Max is a promising technology that could allow service providers to blanket entire cities with Internet access at lightning speeds.

It’s all hype for now, but Patrick Leary, Alvarion’s assistant vice president of marketing said there are some key developments on the horizon.

"No one can give you a Wi-Max case study" because there are no deployments, Leary said Monday during a general session.

But the first test for interoperability between vendors will happen at the end of November, Leary said. He said products will be unveiled this year that could be upgraded with software to comply with a Wi-Max standard. He said the latest word is chip makers will begin shipping products in mid-2005.

Wi-Max promises to deliver Internet speeds at several megabits per second and more effectively blanket large areas at cheaper rates than current technologies like DSL and cable-modem service.

"It is not the second coming of Christ," Leary said of Wi-Max, "but it is a pretty exciting technology."

He said Wi-Max ultimately could compete with fourth-generation cellular networks, but he adds the technology also will be imbedded in devices like personal digital assistants.

Leary said Wi-Max could be deployed internationally in 2005, but declined to speculate on when service providers might implement the technology in the United States.

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