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Summary:

Motorola already offers a USB WiMAX solution for mobile road warriors. Indoor signal strength can sometimes be a challenge though. How about a dock for that USB stick that offers double the signal gain? There’s still one missing feature I’d like to see.

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I’ve tested WiMAX on the road and with good coverage, you can see some solid throughput. And of course you can replace your fixed landline broadband with WiMAX in the home. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the two worlds combined with a better antenna in the home? Motorola must think so because it just introduced a solution for both situations. The USBw 200 is a WiMAX adapter for mobile use — just plug it in to Microsoft Windows computer and the software to go mobile will automatically install. That’s your mobile solution. When you get home or to the office, the USBw 200 fits into a dock, which offers double the signal gain over the USB adapter alone.

Note that the docking station connects to a computer through a USB cable. So you’re not really untethered with the dock — it’s more of a fixed solution. However, you can take the dock out of the stand and place the unit on a window thanks to suction cups on the device. That flexibility could help increase signal gain if you’ve got a USB cable long enough to try it. Part of me sees the dock as bit of a missed opportunity though. Why have the limitation of a USB cord? With the right software and a support for Wi-Fi, this solution could create a WiMAX hotspot in the home for multiple users to share an Internet connection. And that kind of flexibility opens up device usage beyond Windows PCs — think Macs, mobile phones or a Nintendo DS.

Motorola is looking at the second quarter of 2010 for availability, but there’s no information on pricing just yet.

Image courtesy of Motorola

Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

In Q4, Data Was Mobile’s Hot Spot


  1. Maybe I am missing something, but wouldn’t the Sprint Overdrive accomplish the same thing but without the USB connection. If I was looking for a mobile wireless solution right now, I would not even consider a dongle.

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    1. Oh, guess the signal boost here could be of benefit….

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