September 26, 2006

4G Wireless in South Korea [8:44 am]

Wireless Networking May Soon Get Faster. Will Anyone Care?

Skeptics say the biggest danger is that the new system, while an engineering marvel, is not something that consumers will actually use. They say the sort of nationwide wireless networks being envisioned will be expensive to build and that the cost will probably get passed down to users in high fees. Fixed-line access like fiber optics and cable modems, they say, will continue to be cheaper, faster and more reliable.

“Four-G is just much ado about nothing,” said Edward F. Snyder, an analyst at Charter Equity Research. “There’s no business model here, just a lot of marketing and hot air.”

Even proponents are having a hard time defining exactly what they mean by 4G. About the only thing most agree on is speed: to be considered 4G, a network must be able to transmit a gigabit, or 1 billion bits of data, every second. That is fast enough to download an entire movie in under six seconds.

[...] Siavash M. Alamouti, chief technology officer of the service provider business group at Intel, dismisses the contention that consumers will not embrace wireless access to the Internet because they already have fixed-line access.

“That’s like saying you don’t need a cellphone because you have phones at home and in the office,” he said in an interview.

I love how the benchmark for network speed is tied to movie downloads.

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