Sprint's 4G Xohm WiMax: How fast is it?

In our hands-on tests, the new Xohm network was fast and smooth -- but for now, you have to be in Baltimore.

1 2 3 4 Page 3
Page 3 of 4

Getting online the WiMax way

A bigger problem is the paucity of devices that can connect to the network. At this point, there are only a handful of devices available. Here are some highlights.

Modems and data cards

These devices connect your existing laptop or desktop computer to the Xohm service.

Despite looking like a futuristic coffee maker or an alien spaceship, Zyxel's Xohm Modem, model MAX206M2, is the equivalent of a cable or DSL modem for the Xohm network. It has an Ethernet jack on the back to connect it to a home router to distribute the data throughout a house or apartment. Sure, it's big and clunky (6.5 by 6.45 by 4.65 in.), but it's meant to be hidden. It costs $80.

Zyxel's Xohm modem
Zyxel's Xohm Modem

Samsung 's Xohm ExpressCard, SWC-E100, weighs 1.3 ounces and works like a charm for accessing the network. The good news is that setup is quick and easy; the bad news is that the card doesn't work with Mac or Linux computers, cutting into its usefulness. The card costs $60.

Samsung's Xohm ExpressCard
Samsung's Xohm ExpressCard

Look for ZTE and Motorola to introduce USB adapters that can transform many notebooks into WiMax systems. But as with the ExpressCard, this will be a Windows-only data party, with Mac and Linux systems left out in the cold.

Laptops and Internet devices

In the market for a new notebook or mobile Internet device? A handful are starting to add built-in WiMax connectivity.

Representative among the new breed is the Lenovo ThinkPad X301. A dead ringer for the ThinkPad X300 on the outside, the X301 updates the system with Intel's latest Montevino processors and built-in WiMax that sits on a mini-USB module. The best part is that the hardware works perfectly with Lenovo's Access Connections software, so it's easy to go from Wi-Fi to WiMax and back again. The connected notebook costs $2,556.

Lenovo ThinkPad X301
Lenovo's ThinkPad X301

Other WiMax-capable laptops include the Asus M50Vm and the Lenovo ThinkPad SL300, SL500 and T400; soon-to-be-released models include the Acer Aspire 6930 and 4930, the Asus N50Vn-B2WM and F8Va-C2WM, and the Toshiba Satellite U405-ST550W.

"By the end of the year, there will be a dozen WiMax notebooks," says Xohm's West.

But without a doubt, the most exciting product for this new technology is Nokia's N810 WiMax Edition. This hand-friendly Internet tablet squeezes the Web and all it has to offer into a 4-in. 800 x 480 screen. When you're away from a WiMax network, the N810 can connect with its built-in Wi-Fi.

1 2 3 4 Page 3
Page 3 of 4
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon