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Senior Editor

Last mile wireless

Nov 05, 20032 mins
BroadbandCellular NetworksNetwork Security


Our Technology Update this week takes a look at a new wireless technology, called WiMAX, that could  reshape the way service providers offer broadband Internet access.

WiMAX, also known as 802.16a, is a wireless networking standard that offers greater range and bandwidth than the Wi-Fi family of standards, which includes 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. While Wi-Fi is intended to provide coverage over relatively small areas, such as in offices or hot spots, WiMAX can transfer around 75M bit/sec over a distance of 30 miles to thousands of users from a single base station.

Out Technology Update author ( says that with throughput up to 75M bit/sec, WiMAX gives companies another way to get business-quality broadband service. While it may take several months for a carrier to provision a T-1 line, service providers can provision wireless service in matter of days.

802.16a provides flexibility not possible with wired services, such as high-speed backhaul for events like trade shows, with hundreds or even thousands of 802.11 hot spot users.  Such “on demand” connectivity could also benefit businesses such as construction companies that have sporadic or nomadic connectivity needs. The 802.16e extension to 802.16a introduces nomadic capabilities that will allow users to connect while roaming outside their home service area.

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