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Will Mobile Broadband Kill Wi-Fi?

The approval of the IEEE 802.16e standard for mobile wireless broadband raises many unanswered questions about the future of Wi-Fi.

About 90 percent of laptops are now delivered with built-in support for Wi-Fi wireless networks and the technology has been widely adopted both in enterprises and the home. In addition, the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots continues to grow.

But will a mobile version of WiMAX and other wireless broadband technologies encroach on Wi-Fi's territory? After all, why bother with finding a Wi-Fi hotspot when mobile broadband gives you wireless access wherever you are? For that matter, will fixed wireless broadband eventually replace Wi-Fi in enterprises and home? And how do municipal wireless projects fit into the mobile access equation?

Those are the core questions in a debate that is spreading through the wireless and mobile industry.

Competitive, But Not a Replacement

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