Room to roam


How some wireless connectivity options stack up



802.11 Wi-Fi

Inexpensive, standardized.

Passive security makes it more vulnerable to breaches; 300-foot distance limitation.

802.16 WiMax

Metropolitan-area coverage, 20- to 30-mile line-of-sight reach, two to three miles for in-building coverage; built-in encryption, and quality of service.

Prestandard; expensive until it hits mass market.

Evolution Data Optimized (3G cellular)

Wide-area and international coverage; moderately priced.

May not be fast enough for some broadband applications.


Global coverage.

Line of sight only; very expensive; scales poorly for workgroup applications.


Widely available and moderately priced.

Line of sight only; prone to signal fading from rain, clouds and foliage.

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