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As a complement to the massive existing Wi-Fi* install base, WiMAX is expected to
dramatically increase the availability of wireless connectivity by helping to fill in the
broadband gaps between the more than 127 million public hotspots and 223 million
home-based Wi-Fi networks worldwide.2 As an increasing number of notebook
computers, handhelds, and consumer electronics devices integrate combined WiMAX
and Wi-Fi modules, customers will come to expect more seamless connectivity as they
travel in and out of hotspots. Wi-Fi has become nearly a default feature in notebooks,
with over 97 percent shipping with integrated Wi-Fi,3 and an increasing number of
handhelds and consumer electronics devices adding Wi-Fi capabilities as well. With the
rapidly building momentum behind WiMAX, many industry observers hope that WiMAX
will achieve attach rates to devices that are similar to those of Wi-Fi over time.
WiMAX is designed to blanket large metropolitan, suburban, or rural areas with multimegabit
per second mobile broadband Internet access.4 Although the wide-area
Internet connectivity offered by 2.5G and 3G cellular data services has been mobile,
these services do not provide the broadband speeds to which users have become
accustomed and that WiMAX can deliver. This paper explores the complementary
nature of WiMAX and Wi-Fi, illustrating how service providers can leverage those
synergies to offer compelling new services and add to their customer bases.
WiMAX extends the benefits of Wi-Fi networks to deliver the first generation of truly mobile, broadband Internet. The integration of WiMAX and Wi-Fi promises convenient and affordable broadband connectivity that brings new deployment models for service providers, as well as new usage models for subscribers. The ability to be connected to the Internet and to have access to real-time information in more places is of high
value to business professionals and consumers alike. The advantages of coupling WiMAX and Wi-Fi enable service providers to offer compelling new service offerings with both WiMAX and Wi-Fi capabilities and to take advantage of device cost savings enabled by the synergies between the two technologies. These capabilities and synergies position service providers to be more competitive and profitable as the new face of broadband emerges.
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