If there’s one technology that stands out in the world of digital communications, it’s wireless broadband. By cutting the physical cord between data source and data receiver, an almost endless horizon of applications opens up, making wireless broadband an inescapable necessity for modern economies.
Perhaps most importantly, it allows for mobile data communication, making it possible for the full library of online information to be available to any user at any time. But it also means that this same information can be made available to areas of the population not easily served by other means, opening up the total geography of the globe to advanced data communication. For both developed nations and developing nations, broadband penetration has been shown to be a significant generator of economic growth. There’s little doubt that the demand for wireless broadband will continue to grow as all segments of the world’s population seek data-intensive services, such as audio and video.
Loosely defined, wireless broadband is simply the high-speed wireless transmission of digital data. Wireless transmission rates, although generally lower than wired transmission rates, continue to improve, and are adequate for most applications. A wireless broadband network can be deployed on a localized area basis (LAN), with coverage extending a couple of hundred feet, or on a wide area basis (WAN), with coverage extending for miles. The first major deployment of wireless broadband was by carriers such as Sprint (NYSE: S) in the 1990s, and was generally affordable only by the largest users. As technical improvements continued, wireless broadband became a realistic option for a large number of users. Today, wireless broadband is a major segment of the overall broadband market, and continues to expand both in volume and diversity of application.
With smart cell phones and the advent of 3G/4G networks, wireless broadband has established itself as a pivotal part of modern individual communications. And yet this represents only one star in a continuously expanding applications universe. Whether providing overall broadband access, or focused systems to fit a particular need, wireless broadband stands to affect virtually everyone.
• The use of wireless technologies to provide broadband connectivity services globally to rural and underserved areas promises to impact economic and social development throughout the world.
• Companies, local or global, can instantly and continuously access and process data from every point of their operations, both in-house and in the field.
• The ability to establish a rich data connection between health care providers in remote or underserved areas and doctors in urban hospitals stands to expand the availability and affordability of quality health care on a wide scale.
• Traffic video monitoring, using wireless broadband technologies, allows municipalities to improve traffic flow, reduce accidents, and to enhance the response to emergencies.
• Court systems use wireless broadband to improve the availability of testimony and presentations while significantly reducing associated costs.
• Digital signs can be updated instantly from distant locations, providing fresh up-to-the-minute content for any purpose, anywhere in the world.
• Police, fire, and other emergency respondents can readily share complex, graphics-rich information on a national basis or beyond.
The list goes on, and continues to grow with no end in sight. Providers of wireless broadband service, and associated hardware and software, pop up almost daily. Though many such relatively young companies are small and privately held, there is an increasing number showing up in the public arena, a few of which are listed below.
• Windstream Communications (NASDAQ: WIN), an Alltel-Valor spinoff, provides wireless broadband Internet service to rural areas in states throughout the South and Midwest.
• DataCall Technologies (OTCBB: DCLT) was founded with the vision of using wireless broadband technologies to develop and deliver the first wirelessly supplied data feeds for digital signage, and now provides a wide range of digital signage content.
• Omnicity Corp (OTCBB: OMCY) is Indiana’s largest fixed wireless Internet service provider, bringing broadband services to underserved rural areas, with plans of becoming the preeminent provider of rural telecommunications throughout the U.S.
• Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) is a rapidly growing wireless broadband mobile Internet service provider, covering various U.S. west coast and eastern markets.
• Towerstream (NASDAQ: TWER) provides fixed wireless broadband services to commercial users in major cities throughout the U.S.
But perhaps no company has embraced the possibilities of wireless broadband so creatively as Newport Digital Technologies (OTCBB: NPDT). Newport has managed to forge an exclusive partnership with two of Taiwan’s premier technology incubators, the Institute for Information Industry (III) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), under which the company works to develop and customize their advanced technologies to meet the needs of customers around the world. The result is a rich portfolio of competencies in RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), WiMAX, eLearning, LED Signage, and Security & Surveillance, all taking advantage of the new generation of wireless broadband networks.
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