802.16 Wireless MAN Standards

EE Times writes about the recent approval by IEEE of the “802.16a specification for wireless metropolitan-area networks (MANs) in the 2- to 11-GHz range, giving a seal of approval to technology that one executive said could enable a disruptive change in communications.” It will be interesting to see how it plays out vis-a-vis the 802.11 WiFi rollouts that are happening now. Adds EE Times:

Roger Marks, chairman of the 802.16 committee and a wireless director at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s labs in Boulder, Colo., said that in an ideal world 802.16a can serve as a backbone for 802.11 hot-spots. Still, some wireless LAN advocates promote 802.11’s use as a MAN, even though its medium-access control protocol is fundamentally optimized for shorter-range topologies. At the same time, Marks said, others have talked of using 802.16a within the enterprise as an adjunct to 802.11a or 802.11g. If the 802.11e working group has trouble providing true quality-of-service prioritization for wireless LANs, then it might make sense to take 802.16a directly to an end user, Marks said. Otherwise, “it’s more efficient and more cost-effective to look for the ways 802.11 and 802.16 complement each other.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.