Mobile Broadband

12 Aug 2008|Leigh Marinner

Mobility counts. In the future we will want always-on wireless broadband capacity to be sending personal videos/photos data and connecting to our social network while mobile all the time. Fast mobile broadband, whether Mobile WiMAX or 4G cellular network wireless, will be offered in the next year or two. This will make it possible to send and receive any kind of content while mobile. It will enable new behaviors. You won’t have to wait until you get home or to a WiFi hotspot to do things. Consumer electronics devices will have broadband connections built in and you will be able to play interactive games, exchange photos and videos and search the web while mobile, the same way you do now at home. Your personal content will be stored in the cloud so you can have access wherever you want.

Will mobile network providers compete successfully with wired broadband providers? They would have to offer close to the bandwidth and speeds they would be replacing, but this is looking more possible. WiMAX is an IP-based standard that will be operational next year, and has a 1-2 year headstart on the new US 4G wireless networks. With Mobile WiMAX, speeds of 10 Mbps at 10 km can be delivered, even if the 70 Mbps promised at 50 km is more hypothetical. Verizon and AT&T‘s LTE 4G wireless mobile broadband (LTE) promises to deliver 100 Mbps download speed next year, which is a lot faster than the 2.4 Mbps (EVDO) or 7.2 Mbps (3G GSM) US wireless currently delivered. The traditional wired US broadband providers currently offer speeds of 1.5+ Mbps and new offerings promise up to 3 Mbps. In the longer run, modern cities will have access to 100Mbps via fiber. But in rural areas and developing nations, wireless will probably be the backbone of the broadband infrastructure. And consumers need for mobile broadband may cause them to switch to mobile broadband, the same way many people have turned off their landline phones. Some experts say it may require on the order of 11 Mbps always-on broadband in the future to handle consumer data transfer needs, which any of these standards will be able to offer.

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