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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

October 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM

WiMax World: Press room jinx

BOSTON — It is inevitable. I have come to expect that every trade show I travel to will have problems with its wireless network, especially in the media room.

This is especially true if it is a wireless conference. It happens nearly twice a year at both CTIA shows, it has happened at 3GSM, an international wireless show in Barcelona, and it is now happening here at WiMax World.

It clearly demonstrates how fickle Wi-Fi is, and how unlikely that the technology could be used on a large scale with many users in a concentrated area.

At least, this is exactly the argument presented by the WiMax industry, and why it believes WiMax will be different — it can handle higher capacity, while at the same time encountering less interference because it uses licensed spectrum.

Because I can understand how this might happen, I travel with a 3G card from Verizon Wireless. It typically delivers fairly fast speeds, and doesn’t kick me off every few minutes, as Wi-Fi does.

But the additional hurdle that the fine folks at WiMax World added this year, which I didn’t prepare for, was assigning the press room to the basement — three floors down from the main level. Signal strength for a phone is weak at best.

I hope WiMax really can pull off all its promises, especially at the industry’s own conferences.

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