Issue #2003 - 05
APPLICATION SOLUTIONS &
IEEE Approves 802.16
Specifications; Potential Competition for 802.11
The IEEE Standards body recently approved a new set of specifications -- 802.16a for wireless metropolitan-area networks (WMANs). The new technology will operate in the 2 GHz to 11 GHz range.
Some WLAN analysts feel that 802.16a
may compete with 802.11. Some envision 802.16a as providing a backbone for 802.11 hot spots. Pro-802.11 forces try to push 802.11 as a WMAN, although 802.11's medium-access control (MAC) protocol is optimized for shorter range topologies. Others still see 802.16a as a complement to 802.11a/g within the enterprise.
Even though 802.16 MAN special
interest group was formed in IEEE as early as 1999. However, it got
off the radar screen in the midst of telecom sector melt-down. Now
with 802.11 resurgence, there is renewed interest in 802.16.
Interested vendors and professionals
interested in wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN) have formed their own association,
called Wi-Max Forum. The objective of Wi-Max is to develop interoperability tests based on the 802.16 task groups' specifications.
The forum has attracted several important vendors, the most
important being Intel. Other Wi-Max members include Agilent Technologies, Ensemble Communications, Hughes Network Systems, Intracom, Nera Telecommunications, Nokia, and
According to Sriram Viswanathan, director of Intel Capital's Broadband and Wireless Networking Investments
group "802.11 is the first key disruption. 802.16 is the next." Viswanathan
alao argued that in areas where wired infrastructure is not deployed, 802.16 is "a viable last-mile solution. And for WLAN hotspots, 802.16 is appropriate for backhaul."
MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: There
is a well-known need and supporting technology for solving the last
mile problem using wireless. IEEE 802.16 addresses that requirement.
We expect broadband wireless to be a major technology during the
next five years. Success of WiFi will help and not hinder 802.16.
Therefore, industry would argue about 802.16
versus 802.11. Our call is for the industry to show - how the two
standards can work together to provide a high-speed alternative to
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1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no
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