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Monday, August 08, 2005
  blackhole- WiMax: wireless at max
World interoperability for microwave access or WiMax is an evolving standard for point-to-multi-point wireless networking, works for the “last mile” in the same way that Wi-Fi “hotspots work for the last 100 feet of networking within a building or a home.

The system has been seen as one of the key technologies in bringing cost-effective wireless broadband access and connectivity to areas currently not within the reach of existing wired infrastructure within cities, towns, and rural areas.

Expected to be fully deployed worldwide in a few years’ time, a WiMax base station is said to be able to beam high-speed Internet connections to homes and businesses in radius of up 50km or a typical three to five kilometers in an obstructed landscape.
Local prospects

Can WiMax make its way into the already congested telecommunications landscape, with existing new services like third-generation (3G), general packet radio service (GPRS), enhanced data for GSM evolution (EDGE), and the many Wi-Fi hotspots?

For WiMax to be implemented, it does not need infrastructure change in the existing telecommunications infrastructure.

WiMax-based systems, for the most part, complement existing wired infrastructure by filling coverage holes and extending the reach for the service providers where they do not have the infrastructure to bring broadband access and connectivity to their customers.

The possible benefits

Once the technology matures and become widely available, it will lower the cost of the subscriber units which in turn will lower the cost of operating a network.

It is useful to consider WiMax as it has many of the advantages of digital subscriber line (DSL) without requiring extensive wiring for implementation.

It also a non-line of sight solution which means that it can be implemented in rugged terrain and will still function.

Among the major challenges faced by WiMax include getting a harmonized frequency allocation at least in a common geographical region of the world to ensure wide market coverage, and avoid creating specific nationally-isolated solutions.

This can be overcome through frequent contact and consistent dialogue with regulatory agencies.

Technology initiatives

Much research and development work and initial solution for WiMax have been carried out and produced.

Motorola, for instance, has been actively involved in IEEE 802.16 groups that set the standard WiMax is based on as well as on the WiMax Forum.

Alcatel is providing a solution today for WiMax based on the WiMax revision “d” standard. This solution can, depend on the network circumstances; provide 60 megabits of capacity and coverage of 15km.

Intel, meanwhile, has announced last April the general availability of the Intel Pro/Wireless 5116 (formerly codenamed Rosedale), providing a platform for equipment manufactures and carriers to deliver next-generation broadband wireless networks worldwide.

Wi-Fi is targeted for wireless LAN connectivity and cell sizes measure in meters, while WiMax, on the other hand is targeted at metro area connectivity and has cell sizes measured in kilometers.

-wireless at max-

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