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Developed in South Korea, WiBro™ is a variety of wireless broadband devices offering Internet access; devices that may use the service include personal and desktop computers and cell phones, though its was designed specifically for cell phone use. WiBro™ is based on the same IEEE 802.16 standard as WiMax, but was designed to maintain connectivity on the go, tracking a receiver at speeds of up to 74 miles per hour (119 km/h). The broadband devices are used primarily in Korea, but other countries, such as Italy and Brazil, use the service as well.
Korean-based fixed-line-operators KT, SK Telecom, and Hanaro Telecom were awarded licenses by the South Korean government to provide WiBro™ commercially in 2006. According to Asia Media News Daily, the Korean Times reported a glitch in the initial excitement of WiBro™, as published 31 August 2005. Hanaro Telecom gave up its license for WiBro™ after concerns that the considerable investment required would not see a return, while SK Telecom was also said to be hanging back. Only KT remained enthusiastically committed in the push to make WiBro™ a reality. In the end, the service was offered by both SK Telecom and KT.
WiMax, which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is the current standard of wireless broadband devices in the United States. The service offers wireless Internet connectivity at fixed ranges of up to 30 miles (48 km) from the transmitting base, and to mobile receivers from a distance of three to ten miles. Originally, it was not designed to work for receivers on-the-go, making WiBro™ an option, but technology has advanced WiMax to work for mobile receivers as well. While the South Korean technology is not commonly used in the US, it did play a role in the development of WiMax Internet services.
A Technologically Advanced Country
South Korea is one of the most connected nations in the world where broadband Internet access is widespread via DSL, cable WiFi, and WiBro™. The country also led the world market in quickly commercializing 3G (3rd Generation) cellular services like CDMA2000, a faster version of the Code Division Multiple Access network. Like the United States, South Korea is one of the few nations to use the cellular CDMA network more prominently than the more widespread GSM (Global System for Mobile communications). With its great enthusiasm for wireless technology, South Korea proved to be a solid testing ground for WiBro™ and a springboard for WiMax.