Clearwire Gains WiMAX Milestone--or Does It?

Vendor claims first 'WiMAX-class' laptop card approval from FCC; our analyst says that doesn't mean it's truly compatible with latest WiMAX standards.

May 3, 2007

2 Min Read
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Clearwire this week touted Federal Communications Commission approval of what it claims is the first "WiMAX-class" laptop card for bringing high-speed wireless links to mobile users.

The real story, though, seems to be the focus on "WiMAX-class" rather than WiMAX-standard technology, as the laptop card works over Motorola's wi4 Expedience networks (see analysis at right for details).Semantics aside, the new wireless laptop card is expected to be available in Clearwire markets--currently deployed in 37 U.S. markets--during the second half of the year, the vendor said. Clearwire's network and the new card deliver broadband wireless data connections to mobile users that have a broader reach than existing Wi-Fi networks and higher speeds than typical 3G cellular connection.

Clearwire said the wireles access modem card is a non-line-of-sight device, requiring only that a driver be added to the customer's computer. The product fits into a standard Type II laptop card slot on portable-computing devices and is compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista and XP operating systems.

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