Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Portable Internet: What's With WiBro?

The Korea Times chose an interesting headline for an article today about the prospects for Korea's homegrown portable internet technology, WiBro, as it is known domestically, and Mobile Wimax internationally.  "Will WiBro Sizzle or Fizzle?"  Although this may appear brash, I'm going to predict that, in the long run, WiBro or something very much like it will sizzle.  Furthermore, there appears to be no serious downside to the efforts of Samsung and other Korean companies to push for international approval of a mobile internet standard that originated here. 
At this moment in South Korea's rapid evolution toward the ubiquitous network society, it is a safe statement that there are two desireable characteristics of the future media environment:
  • It will provide broadband internet access via mobile handsets, PCs and a variety of other devices.  The term broadband internet, as used here, means speed, as in access speeds currently available in Korea, Japan and a handful of other countries.
  • To the extent possible, it will be cordless or mobile
As things currently stand, the only reason most people would want to plug in a cord or a network cable in order to access the internet, is to achieve an adequately fast connection.   WiBro, aka Mobile Wimax will succeed because it offers both speed and mobility.   Perhaps we're getting ahead of the story here.  There are other countries and companies in the world that may be pushing for their own versions of the "portable internet," as WiBro appropriately dubs itself.  The most notable of these is LTE, which is still several years off.
WiBro has an informative English language web site.  It contains links to several other sites that may be useful for those closely following the development of these technologies, approval of international standards, and related issues.   One is the Wimax Forum.   Another is the Telecommunications Technology Association.   Also of considerable interest is Intel's view of technologies that will enable the portable internet.  

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