A week or so ago Intel held a conference to get software and equipment developers excited about its vision of the future. The nut of the vision: wireless broadband and plenty of it. Intel is pushing WiMax, a version of wireless transmission that’s sort of WiFi on steroids. Instead of communicating with your laptop for a max of a couple of hundred feet, WiMax will transmit for miles. Whole cities can be covered by WiMax with a lot fewer transmitter/receivers and the transmission rate will be in the megabits per second.
Much of the vision Intel demonstrated this week is predicated on an
assumption that wireless internet networks will eventually be ubiquitous and
ultra-fast, enabled by a technology called WiMax that allows for citywide
broadband networks. Instead of the services we use today for voice and video,
we’ll turn to wideband audio and new systems for transmitting movies online.
This would all seem like so much smoke if it weren’t being put out by Intel, a company that can do what it says. Why bring it up? Well, if you’re thinking about the not-so-far future, having ubiquitous mobile broadband for everybody suggests that you better get imaginative if you’re going to be in step.