WiBro Blankets Seoul With High-Speed Internet

Wireless Heaven: WiBro Blankets Seoul With High-Speed Internet

Koreans have very high expectations on the quality and the speed of telecommunication systems, whether they are mobile phones or broadband Internet lines or a mobile TV. And that standard is being raised even higher this year with the introduction of Mobile WiMax (WiBro) network in major cities this year.

It is a laudable feat to blanket a whole city with a seamless wireless Internet network, but Korea’s fledging WiMax business hasn’t received its due respect from the public yet. Only a few places in the world, such as Philadelphia and Anaheim, have city-wide wireless networks, but none of them can match the speed and the coverage of WiMax networks of Seoul, a mega city where more than 10 million people live and work.

The best place to experience the full capacity of the Mobile WiMax is the road ― while the conventional wireless Internet network, called WiFi, reaches only a few dozen meters from transmitters, WiMax users can stay online while traveling at 100 kilometers per hour on the highway, from Seoul to Bundang or to Incheon International Airport.

WiMax is also considered superior than the HSDPA system that uses the mobile phone network. The average download speed of WiMax in Seoul is 3 megabits per second, compared to 1 megabits of HSDPA, said Yeom Woo-jong, public relations manager of KT.

“WiMax and HSDPA have respective advantages: WiMax is faster, while HSDPA has a better penetration into buildings because it shares the same systems of existing mobile phone networks,” he said.

Between Jan. 15 and Feb. 4, The Korea Times conducted field tests of KT’s WiMax service around Seoul. Testers used a Lenovo laptop PC and a finger-sized modem that comes with the WiMax subscription for free.

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