If you follow wireless networking, you've likely heard the jumble of numbers and letters comprising the many standards purporting to serve applications in fixed, portable and mobile wireless environments. If you follow wireless networking, you've likely heard the jumble of numbers and letters comprising the many standards purporting to serve applications in fixed, portable and mobile wireless environments.Among them, you might know of an emerging standard called 802.16, also informally referred to as WiMAX. The term "WiMAX" actually refers to a good old consortium of vendors doing its job to accelerate standards and help get products cooking.Think of 802.16 as a wireless version of a T-1 or DSL "last mile" link. Eventually, this technology could become a campus network alternative for you.There are two basic flavors of 802.16:* 802.16a (now officially renamed "802.16d," yet soon to be called "802.16-2004"). This technology primarily is for fixed wireless last-mile usage. 802.16d products are expected to ship in the first half of next year.* 802.16e is for mobile (roaming) usage, and standards approval is expected in mid-2005.Here's the reason we bring up 802.16, particularly the fixed "d\/2004" flavor: Last August, we wrote about wireless bridging as an alternative to metro fiber for campus networking. First, 802.16d could standardize the componentry for such bridges, a boon to pricing and interoperability, if you continue to want to roll your own.In addition, 802.16d wireless metro services could be an alternative to wireless bridges. Among your campus options, then, might be:1) Run your own metro fiber.2) Purchase T-1 or other terrestrial metro services.3) Own and manage your own nonstandard or 802.16 wireless bridges.4) Use an 802.16 wireless metro service among your campus sites.Meantime, in other 802.16\/WiMAX developments:* Last week, Intel (a big 802.16 proponent) and Proxim, a wireless equipment company, announced a partnership to jointly develop 802.16 equipment.* The WiMAX Forum recently formed a Regulatory Working Group to harmonize the use of spectrum worldwide in 2.5, 3.5 licensed and 5 GHz unlicensed bands.* Nokia, which had dropped out of the WiMAX Forum earlier this year, rejoined last week.