Sprint’s Xohm WiMAX Network is Live

WiMAX is here.  And by here, well, we mean only Baltimore for the time being.  But it’s a great start for Sprint who looks to jump almost two years ahead of their competitors.

Competing network operators have reason to worry.  Over 70% of Baltimore is in a hotspot now thanks to the rollout of their Xohm WiMAX network.  Known as IEEE 802.16, it’s intended for wireless “metropolitan area networks”.   WiMAX can provide broadband wireless access (BWA) up to 30 miles (50 km) for fixed stations, and 3 – 10 miles (5 – 15 km) for mobile stations.  In contrast, the WiFi/802.11 wireless local area network standard is limited in most cases to only 100 – 300 feet (30 – 100m) according to WiMax.com.  No other carrier is within 18 months of this stuff.

If you reside in Baltimore and want to use WiMAX you can buy devices that plug in to your computer so you can get your wireless high speed internet fix. In the future, you’ll see WiMAX chips in everything from gaming devices to laptops and internet tablets.

We watched a webcast today for the official unveiling and gathered a few tidbits.  So far there are a handful of manufacturers working on designs including Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba.  It’s odd to think of a WiFi card that has to shift down to 3G but that’s where we’re at with Sprint.

Seeing Dan Hesse speak earlier, we got the sense that he is genuinely enthusiastic about his company and their potential.  He comes across as excited and truly grounded.  The guy wrote his notes with pen and paper in his hotel this morning for crying out loud.

So why Baltimore of all cities? Because it represents a challenge to RF engineers and is somewhat representative of American cities in general.  With all of the water in the area, it presented some tricky situations in the build out.

Living in Baltimore and using Sprint WiMAX service?  Tell us what you experiences are in the comments!  You can sign up for an introductory price of $25 per month with no long term commitments right now, so AndroidGuys readers are encouraged to check it out!

Via [baltimoresun]

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