WiMax designated as global standard


BRUSSELS -- The International Telecommunication Union has named WiMax broadband technology -- which allows streaming of broadcasts on phones, music players, laptops and other portable devices -- the global standard for mobile devices.

The move is expected to boost WiMax's chances of becoming the preferred system for the next generation of high-speed wireless Internet access, marking a victory for its backer Intel and a defeat for competing technologies from Qualcomm and Ericsson.

Many governments dictate technologies when they allocate wireless spectrum, and they typically look to the ITU, which is affiliated with the United Nations, to say which technologies qualify. The endorsement opens the way for governments to devote a part of the public radio spectrum to WiMax. And it should mean that WiMax receivers will be built into laptop computers, phones, music players and other portable devices.

WiMax technology goes beyond WiFi as it can take signals from antenna to antenna, thus allowing a device to hold a connection while in motion. It can move data at 70MB per second across 65 km, while current fixed-line broadband connections have speeds of just 2MB per second.