WiMAX option for MacBook and MacBook Pros

Oh, glorious FCC! Bringer of news on upcoming products.  Thank you for the gift we've just received....Even though Intel tried to keep it quiet from us (PDF).

Over the weekend, the FCC leaked out a bit of exciting news.  Intel is soon releasing the 5350 WiFi/WiMAX combo card that fits into Mini PCI Express card slots (pictured below).


To Mac hardware hackers, this mini PCI slot card might look very familiar.  It has the same form factor as the Wifi cards in McBooks and MacBook Pros (below). 


Does this mean you will be able to swap out your Wifi Card for a combo WiFi-WiMAX card?   Yes! 

Will it work?  I'm not entirely sure yet.  As far as I can tell, there are no Mac drivers for this hardware - although Windows drivers exist.  Obviously as Intel standard equipment, it is likely that Apple will jump on this bandwagon in upcoming MacBook and MacBook Pro (Air?) hardware revisions - perhaps we will even see these drivers in upcoming Leopard releases?

Also, there is the antenna port.  Will that third antenna port need a dedicated WiMAX optimized antenna?  Need is a strong word.  Most likely, MacBook users will be able to use one of the built in WiFi antennas for acceptable performance.  This, of course, is pure speculation.

On the deployment side, it would help if Sprint/Clearwire would roll this WiMAX thing out to more cities already...Baby steps I guess.  Internationally, WiMAX is also set to start seeing more deployment.

For more interesting info, check out the WiMAX card's User Guide(PDF).

Part of this PDF includes the information that Intel is also supposed to put up a website on where to find WiMAX (currently a dead link):

To  check what networks are available, visit this website: www.intel.com/go/getWiMAX

I am boomarking it anyway...


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