IEEE 802.16 and WiMAX: Broadband Wireless Access for Everyone
Many operators and service providers may be unfamiliar with the details of the IEEE 802.16 standard, but this wireless technology is about to revolutionize the broadband wireless access industry. The 802.16 standard, the “Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems,” is also known as the IEEE WirelessMAN air interface. This technology is designed from the ground up to provide wireless last-mile broadband access in the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), delivering performance comparable to traditional cable, DSL, or T1 offerings. The principal advantages of systems based on 802.16 are multi-fold: the ability to quickly provision service, even in areas that are hard for wired infrastructure to reach; the avoidance of steep installation costs; and the ability to overcome the physical limitations of traditional wired infrastructure. Providing a wired broadband connection to a currently underserved area through cable or DSL can be a time-consuming, expensive process, with the result that a surprisingly large number of areas in the US and throughout the world do not have access to broadband connectivity. 802.16 wireless technology provides a flexible, cost-effective, standards based means of filling existing gaps in broadband coverage, and creating new forms of broadband services not envisioned in a “wired” world.
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