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802.16 WiMax Wireless Broadband on the Horizon

timothy posted about 11 years ago | from the certainly-not-over-it dept.

Wireless Networking 169

securitas writes "Products using the emerging IEEE 802.16 WiMax wireless broadband standard should be available early in 2005. WiMax's hundreds of megabits per second bandwidth looks promising to many vendors and service providers who met in San Jose at last week's Wireless Communications Association (WCA) International Technical Symposium & Business Expo. The point-to-multipoint 802.16d standard, with a 50-kilometre range, is expected to be complete by February, ratified in March and deployed in the first quarter of 2005." (Read on for more.)

"The IEEE 802.16e spec, which will support mobile applications, is expected to be complete by early 2005. Nextel, Sprint and BellSouth are all interested in the technology to deploy services like streaming video and TV, wireless phones, and high-speed Internet service in unserved, low-density areas near high-density ones. Mobile operators in developing countries like Brazil's NEOTEC group have already successfully tested an 802.16 wireless broadband deployment. Intel communications group executive VP and GM, Sean Maloney, is banking on it. From the article: 'We believe that WiMax can happen, and be widely deployed, and be a big deal in the next three years the same way Wi-Fi has been a big deal the last two years.' Mirrors at Network World Fusion, Techworld and PCWorld. What happens when techies start to build their own 802.16x WiMax VoIP systems?"

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802.16 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086579)

0.05 better than 802.11!

You know what they say.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086747)

The last 5% of performance is 50% of the price. So your math just might add up.

I don't think this will displace 802.11 (3, Insightful)

The One KEA (707661) | about 11 years ago | (#8086585)

From the sound of it, this new spec appears to deliver far too much bandwidth to really make it cost-effective for the average consumer. IMO this is best for fixed-wireless installations where installing cabling is too cost-prohibitive - especially if the range of the radio tech used in this spec is decent enough.

Re:I don't think this will displace 802.11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086594)

SHUT UP. *loads up Kismet*

Re:I don't think this will displace 802.11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086597)

too much bandwidth

There is NO such thing as too much bandwidth! Forget transporter technology, just point one of these at your destination and pump through a full holographic display.

Re:I don't think this will displace 802.11 (2, Informative)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 11 years ago | (#8086695)

Not to mention I can easily Guess that the transcivers are not for deregulated bands aswell. With a ~50K Range It would be nearly impossible to make it available for home use. Even if the Range was cut down to a mere 3K (Aprox 2 Miles) Spectrum congestion would make it unusable.

different bands coexist (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 11 years ago | (#8086856)

Consumers would get too much for their money for 802.16 to be cost effective? How does that work against us? Besides, the wide range means the bandwidth per user will be relatively small. In NYC, the rollout bandwidth of 155Mbps in 50Km would offer 8bps average to each of its 20M covered potential users.

Re:different bands coexist (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 11 years ago | (#8087610)

8 bps ....did you perhapd mean 8 Mbps.....8 bps would be worse than cell phone connections.

Re:I don't think this will displace 802.11 (1)

1SmartOne (744638) | about 11 years ago | (#8086924)

If you think that there is too much bandwidth read "Dilbert Future". -scott

Re:I don't think this will displace 802.11 (1)

MinutiaeMan (681498) | about 11 years ago | (#8087268)

I can easily think of at least one place where these would be very useful -- and that's college campuses. I've got an Airport card for my iBook, and there are about a half-dozen places where I can hook up , but none of them are very convenient to my daily schedule. In addition, the wireless broadband would probably allow campuses to rely less on the ethernet networks, especially in the dorms and on-campus apartments. I know I would like to be able to take my iBook into the other room and still refresh pages on the Internet... but seeing as how getting a wireless base station just for my own use in an apartment is almost totally pointless (and way out of my budget), it's not gonna happen given the current technology. But even outside personal use, wireless broadband could simplify the networking infrastructure at universities and large businesses immensely. Rather than getting a whole bunch of 802.11 stations and having to scatter them all over the place, a single hub would hook in everyone.

Gentoo? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086587)

I use Gentoo; how does this affect me??

great (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086591)

great, even more pain [unbehagen.com] !

This is promising. (2, Interesting)

vidarlo (134906) | about 11 years ago | (#8086593)

But I can't realy see how this is gonna work? Usually, higher bandwith means higher frequency. Higher frequemcy means less range, since the waves is easilier interupted by obstacles, like trees. and so on. Someone care to explain this to me?

Re:This is promising. (-1)

frogsarefriendly (723785) | about 11 years ago | (#8086612)

You don't just keep jacking the hz to get higher bandwidth, you could use multiple frequencies at the same time. Think like FM radio, there isn't much coming in on one station, but listen to them all at the same time and you've got a lot of data/time slice.

simple (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086622)

But I can't realy see how this is gonna work?

you are a fucking retard. You call yourself a nerd? Go read up on mazwells equations. Mazwell's laws of EM waves will help even your tiny little brain

Re:simple (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 11 years ago | (#8086737)

Go read up on mazwells equations. Mazwell's laws of EM waves will help even your tiny little brain

MaZwell's equations uh? I trust you haven't been too busy reading then yourself ...

As for his famous "laws of EM waves", it might be something to do with tinfoil and clever pointy hat folding.

Re:This is promising. (0, Informative)

kinnell (607819) | about 11 years ago | (#8086633)

Usually, higher bandwith means higher frequency

No, higher bandwidth means higher bandwidth - i.e. the range of frequencies used for transmission of information is wider. The frequency used is irrelevant from the point of view of capacity. A 0-100MHz channel has the same capacity as a 1GHz-1.1GHz channel. Of course physical transmission varies widely at different frequencies, as you point out, but there's no fundamental relationship between capacity and frequency.

Re:This is promising. (0, Redundant)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 11 years ago | (#8086657)

but there's no fundamental relationship between capacity and frequency.

apart of course that the higher the frequency, the higher the possible bandwidth. Otherwise, no, no fundamental relationship at all.

Tell you what : I have developed a technology to pass 1Gbps over POTS. I'll sell you the blueprints of the modem for a mere $50K. Interested?

Re:This is promising. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086720)

Are all moderators composed of people who skipped physics class today?

Mod parent down, it's utterly wrong and it's clear the poster has no idea what he's talking about.

If you don't know what you're talking about (4, Informative)

Czernobog (588687) | about 11 years ago | (#8086763)

please refrain from posting.

Spectral efficiency measures the ability of a wireless system to deliver information within a given amount of radio spectrum and is directly related to system capacity. It determines the amount of radio spectrum required to provide a given service (e.g., 10 kbps voice service, 100 kbps data service) and the number of base stations required to deliver that service to end users. In the latter years of deployment, when subscriber penetration is high, it becomes one of the primary determinants of system economics.

Spectral Efficiency = Channel Throughput/Channel Bandwidth

Spectral efficiency is measured in units of bits/second/Hertz/cell (b/s/Hz/cell). It determines the total throughput each base station (cell or sector) can support in a network in a given amount of spectrum.

Copied from: http://www.arraycomm.com/pcct/spectral_efficiency. htm

There's a million places I could point you to. So to say that capacity and frequency are not related is simply wrong, if not ignorant. The same definition stands for all wireless communications schemes, regardless of whether they use cells or not. All operators, whether it's Telephony or Networking deploy their networks and offer services based on spectral efficiency and power needed to achieve that efficiency. Nothing else. Bit rates, Frequency and all the rest of it are just byproducts...

Re:If you don't know what you're talking about (1)

kinnell (607819) | about 11 years ago | (#8086820)

The point, which I admit, I didn't make very well is that the carrier frequency is not relevant to bandwidth, except maybe in practical terms at the physical layer. The original poster supposed that in order to up the bandwidth, you have to transmit at a higher carrier frequency. This, to the best of my knowledge, is untrue, and I don't see anything in your quote which contradicts this.

Re:If you don't know what you're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8088595)

your right.
Fiber Optics works at a carrier frequency of 193 THz and a typical channel is 10 GHz (w/ 100 GHz channel spacing and max 160 channels or so).

Re:If you don't know what you're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8088632)

Well the replies to this so far are mostly correct enough. But... in hf there is only one 30mhz channel
in vhf there are more and so on. So usually hi bandwidth services get relagated to uhf and up. The higher the bandwidth, usually the higher the frequency that is assigned (not required by basic physics, ignoring needs of other services).

Re:If you don't know what you're talking about (1)

MC_Cancer_Pants (728724) | about 11 years ago | (#8088844)

please refrain from posting.

I wouldn't be so quick to criticize him. He was asking questions, not making assumptions. Notice the two question marks? I for one did not understand the relationship between throughput and frequency, and logically I would have made the same assumptions that he did. Sure you can easily tell him to RTFM, or you can be constructive and set him right where he was wrong. If we didn't use heuristics and logic to figure things out, we wouldn't get very far at all. He was merely stating the conclusion that his logic brought him to and asking where it differed from reality.

Re:This is promising. (1)

radicalskeptic (644346) | about 11 years ago | (#8086644)

The article mentions that a possible frequency range for this new standard might be 2.5 to 2.7 GHz. If you look on Wikipedia, their article for 802.11 [wikipedia.org] states that 802.11b and 802.11g both have a frequency band of 2.4 GHz. That's only a difference of about 4%.

Re:This is promising. (5, Informative)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | about 11 years ago | (#8086646)

Usually, higher bandwith means higher frequency. Higher frequemcy means less range, since the waves is easilier interupted by obstacles, like trees. and so on. Someone care to explain this to me?

Without getting too technical - you're right, sort of. The article is rather muddled; it mentions the frequencies in question (2.5GHz region, which is microwave), and then has some confused sentence about "point-to-multipoint meaning no line-of-sight is necessary". Well, that's nonsense. Microwave propogation is almost exclusively line-of-sight. Without LOS, signal strength drops off dramatically.

However, if you use spread-spectrum techniques (which 802.16 does), you can overcome a lot of these problems. Basically, the characteristics of a wideband SS signal are such that multiple reflections (even weak ones) can be separately received and combined. This is a big gain over narrowband radio, where reflections cause inter-symbol interference which causes the signal to deteriorate.

Another factor that may be more significant - this standard seems mainly to be for delivering broadband to fixed installations (not mobile stations). Well that's an easier job by orders of magnitude: you only have to site the antennas correctly once, and you never have to worry about them moving around.

In conclusion: it's quite different from the radio technology we're most used to, and there's a little thing called progress to factor in too! :)

Hope that helps.

Re:This is promising. (1)

esquimaux (639595) | about 11 years ago | (#8086855)

802.11b/g also use spread spectrum techniques, so that part's hardly new.

Re:This is promising. (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 11 years ago | (#8086711)

True to a limited extent.. Higher Freq usualy has less interference there for you can have much more sensitive reciver... Bandwidth has Little to do with Frequency... Bandwidth has more to do with Signal to noise ratio's (The reason why the further your away from a Telco CO the slower xDSL gets)..

Think of it a bit like yelling in a room... The higher tone someone yells doesn't mean he is telling you more information than a person yelling in a lower tone... But if there are a bunch of people yelling in the same room at the same tone (Or even just random noise at the same tone) It very difficult to understand what is being said. But if someone in a room is yelling in a much higher tone than everyone else and if you try hard enough you can make out what they are saying aslong your in close enough proximity to them and everyone else isn't so loud they completely drown them out... There is more to it.. But thats the basic point

Re:This is promising. (1)

dk.r*nger (460754) | about 11 years ago | (#8086860)

Usually, higher bandwith means higher frequency. Higher frequemcy means less range, since the waves is easilier interupted by obstacles, like trees. and so on.

Well, not in this case! The standard calls for a 300 mhz-range setup, broadcasting serveral 3.000 db signals.

hmmmm... (3, Funny)

Spytap (143526) | about 11 years ago | (#8086596)

Nextel, Sprint and BellSouth are all interested in the technology
Great...just what's needed from a phone provider: more wireless technology that they can provide terrible reception with.

yikes (3, Funny)

sirmalloc (648119) | about 11 years ago | (#8086598)

that's bound to make more than a few people sterile.

Re:yikes (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 11 years ago | (#8086642)

Not to worry, most geeks who are the target of this new uber-cool technology only ever try to impregnate tissues. I doubt you'll see a dip in the nation's birth rate because of WiMax.

Ok, you've lost me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086754)

that's bound to make more than a few people sterile.

You're saying that as if that's some sort of problem?

long range is nice (1, Redundant)

grosa (648390) | about 11 years ago | (#8086600)

50 _kilometer_ range? wow. that's more than enough to connect 2 people in nearby cities.

this should be pretty sweet for rural networking. i foresee a flood of long range domestic and roaming wireless plans coming up circa 2005.

Re:long range is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086731)

According to google [google.com] thats only around 30 miles....

Please RTFA before making wild prognostications (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086796)


50 kilometers ? Power consumption ? (4, Interesting)

moneymaker (702948) | about 11 years ago | (#8086603)

The point-to-multipoint 802.16d standard, with a 50-kilometre range, is expected to be complete by February

I wonder if it becomes actually viable ... The power consumption might reduce the actual advantages for a laptop/mobile system ?. The battery is thing still dragging mobile computing , it's still 1970's space-age technology. But maybe methanol fuel cells will come up by 2005 end ?


Re:50 kilometers ? Power consumption ? (3, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 11 years ago | (#8086626)

The battery is thing still dragging mobile computing , it's still 1970's space-age technology

Because before 70's "space age" batteries, they were using what? gerbil-powered dynamos?

Re:50 kilometers ? Power consumption ? (1)

moneymaker (702948) | about 11 years ago | (#8086670)

I meant the nickel-cadmium and silver alkaline batterys ...

Before that we had lead acid cells that were waaaay too heavy to lug into space :)

(if the space race hadn't invented it , it would have been invented during the Third World War which would have happened in 80's)

The problem is with Linux though. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086604)

Why use it ? It doesn't even support USB.

50 Km range uh? (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 11 years ago | (#8086610)

The point-to-multipoint 802.16d standard, with a 50-kilometre range

Omnidirectional antenna-equipped routers will double as handy microwave ovens.

Re:50 Km range uh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086617)

But think of the leeching possibilities!

Wifi over a 50 km range, I hope they use WEP :D WPA well we can DoS that with 2 unauthorized packets every 60 seconds. So, how will they secure this?

Secure? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086628)

So how will they secure this sucker?

Im quite sure im not alone in wanting to hack this :D

What about Toshiba? (1)

SinaSa (709393) | about 11 years ago | (#8086640)

Last I heard the first company developing/testing 100mbit wireless was Toshiba. I heard this on The Register, but I can't seem to find the link.

Does this have anything to do with them? Have they had any input/association with this? Have there been any copyright issues or anything?

Where will they find the Frequency (5, Interesting)

eyempack (239017) | about 11 years ago | (#8086645)

My largest concern regarding this is the frequencies are they going to mess it up again with hair brained auctions (Cell phone's) or make it so restrictive that even my microwave will buzz my connection (802.11). I fear for how the FCC will dream up this freq. distribution.

Re:Where will they find the Frequency (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086692)

or hare-brained

Re:Where will they find the Frequency (2, Informative)

SchnauzerGuy (647948) | about 11 years ago | (#8086806)

This will be using licensed frequency blocks, and won't interfer with the 2.4GHz unlicensed frequences used by 802.11.

All this really is, is warmed over MMDS [wcai.com] . MMDS was going to be the next big thing in the 90's - Sprint, in particular, was active in MMDS (you might remember it was called Sprint ION). As with a lot of new technologies, it was rolled out into a few markets, lost a lot of money [wirelessweek.com] , and was shut down [nwfusion.com] .

Flash forward a couple of years - 802.11b/g (WiFi) is hot (hence the name - WiMax), broadband Internet usage popular, and the equipment is better/cheaper, so wireless companies are going to give it another go - except this time it will be sold as broadband Internet + VOIP, instead of a replacement for cable TV and also broadband Internet.

From browsing the user reports in the DSL Reports forum [dslreports.com] , it looks like, despite Sprint's best efforts to feck it up, most people really were happy with their ION performance, and very sad to see it shut off.

Re:Where will they find the Frequency (2, Informative)

jmilne (121521) | about 11 years ago | (#8088943)

MMDS was going to be the next big thing in the 90's - Sprint, in particular, was active in MMDS (you might remember it was called Sprint ION).

Actually, Sprint's MMDS offering was (is) called Sprint Wireless Broadband Direct. While they are not going after new customers, this service is still available in a few cities to existing customers. Sprint ION was more of a DSL/ATM/Voice combo. As far as I know, it had nothing to do with wireless service.

Re:Where will they find the Frequency (1)

Maxwell'sSilverLART (596756) | about 11 years ago | (#8088164)

make it so restrictive that even my microwave will buzz my connection (802.11).

Actually, that was the fault of the standard writers and manufacturers. 2.4 GHz was allocated years ago as unlicensed spectrum for "industrial" use, like microwave heating systems (i.e. ovens). It was some time after that designation that people realized "hey, this is unregulated; we can put our radios up here and not worry about licenses!" So they did. Now everybody's in there, and complaining about interference. If they'd just shown a little foresight, asked for a new frequency allocation, it wouldn't have been a problem.

MaBell Will Stop This (5, Interesting)

mikewren420 (264173) | about 11 years ago | (#8086656)

Don't worry, I doubt this technology will ever see the light of day... or if it does, it will remain cost-prohibitive for regular consumers.

Too many people have way too much to loose if this becomes the standard like 802.11 has. In any urban or suburban areas, image how many Wifi hotspots there are within 50km... or even 25km.

Cell providers and ISP's are going to fight this every step of the way because of the competition this could pose... with the right hardware. How long before we see 802.14 VoIP handsets sold on thinkgeek? ;)

Re:MaBell Will Stop This (2, Insightful)

hanssprudel (323035) | about 11 years ago | (#8086812)

When you take off the tinfoil hat, do you have any evidence that it works like this? What great technologies, exactly, have been killed off because people had too much to loose from abondoning less efficient alternatives?

Do you mean like how AOL and Compuserv killed the Internet? How Kodak and Fuji killed the digital camera? How Sun and IBM made Linux illegal? How the dial-up ISPs made sure DSL was never invented?

There is always a comment like this in stories about new technology here, but there is absolutely nothing that points to this being the case. In fact we have a system that is flexible and rewarding of new inventions.

Re:MaBell Will Stop This (2, Insightful)

cHiphead (17854) | about 11 years ago | (#8087548)

solar power; any fuel source not related to coal/oil/nuclear waste; gas efficient car engines; IBM's OS/2 Warp.

Re:MaBell Will Stop This (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 11 years ago | (#8087660)

IBM killed warp. People have not generally purchased the fuel-efficient engines - There was a CRX HF back in the eighties that got ~50mpg. Just saw one the other day, after not seeing one for years and years. Fuel source not related to coal/oil/nuclear? Biodiesel is great for waste you have lying around but it's not efficient if you have to grow and process plant stocks for example. And solar is still moving alone, although slowly, its problem (besides only working during the day) is its relatively low output. In the same amount of space, you can get much more output out of something else.

Re:MaBell Will Stop This (1)

caswelmo (739497) | about 11 years ago | (#8087885)

And here I thought solar energy failed because it costs too much and is incredibly inefficient. It must have been the man all along. Dang it!

MaBell Will Stop This (doubt it) (1)

JumperCable (673155) | about 11 years ago | (#8087007)

We (consumers) are going to sop up ever bit of bandwidth available. ISPs (which phone companies are already into in a big way) will dish it out, and once we start running short, prices will rise and bandwidth intensive applications like voice will be the first to be sacrificed to the economic demons of supply & demand.

Re:MaBell Will Stop This (1)

andy1307 (656570) | about 11 years ago | (#8087342)

Cell providers and ISP's are going to fight this every step of the way because of the competition this could pose

Nextel, Sprint and Bellsouth(cingular) are all cellular service providers.

How fast is it? (2, Interesting)

xfs (473411) | about 11 years ago | (#8086671)

All I see anywhere is 'hundreds of megabits per second' but i haven't seen any actual numbers... anyone know?

Re:How fast is it? (2, Insightful)

Keitero-sama (744584) | about 11 years ago | (#8086701)

seeing that its still vaporware (as far as any real performance benchies are concerned) its as fast as my cable now (which is down due to the snow storm that hit NC yesterday, thank you mother nature.)

Great potential for developing countries (3, Interesting)

heironymouscoward (683461) | about 11 years ago | (#8086703)

There is no real demand for this kind of technology in countries that are already well-cabled with more fibre-optic cable than they can ever use.

We did a project once in Nigeria that depended on semi-reliable Internet connections across the country. The only option for our client was to install VSAT stations, at a cost of $50,000 each not counting operating costs.

With 50km point-to-point range it becomes very possible for operators to build a national IP network with local distribution via WiFi or cable.

This could do for Internet what the GSM has done for telephony in large parts of Africa (i.e. brought modern communications to millions of people who have never been able to get it before).

Re:Great potential for developing countries (5, Interesting)

pesc (147035) | about 11 years ago | (#8086767)

There is no real demand for this kind of technology in countries that are already well-cabled with more fibre-optic cable than they can ever use.
Yes there is. The fibre-optic cable is great for the internet backbone, but you don't have fibre to every house in the suburbs and rural areas. This wireless tech would be truly excellent here!

With 50km point-to-point range it becomes very possible for operators to build a national IP network with local distribution via WiFi or cable.

Not really. While you could build a wireless backbone using this technology, the bandwidth would suck. And using this tech for the backbone and using cable for local distribution would be insane. This new tech is great for the last mile distribution of internet access. The backbone is better built by using fiber.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (1)

fruey (563914) | about 11 years ago | (#8086779)

While you could build a wireless backbone using this technology, the bandwidth would suck

Have you any idea what sort of bandwidth requirements whole countries in Africa have, compared to the average US neighbourhood of a few thousand?

Re:Great potential for developing countries (2, Insightful)

Tokerat (150341) | about 11 years ago | (#8086818)

Have you any idea what sort of bandwidth requirements whole countries in Africa have, compared to the average US neighbourhood of a few thousand?
Have you any idea what kind of money can be saved and used for the developing economy if in 20 or 30 years time the entire Internet structure of a country doesn't need a complete replacement because they did things backwards like build backbones with WiFi?

If they're planning on developing, someday their bandwidth requirements will increase. They're either prepared, or they pay to do it again and stifle their efforts.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (1)

pesc (147035) | about 11 years ago | (#8086840)

Have you any idea what sort of bandwidth requirements whole countries in Africa have, compared to the average US neighbourhood of a few thousand?

No, not really. But I would guess that a typical African national requirements would be orders of magnitudes higher than a typical US neighbourhood.

You don't build a internet backbone to match the capacity for internet usage today, but to match what you would want to do in the next couple (10?) of years.

If you have a multi-million population that you want to give telephony and a national TV network (besides internet access), you want a backbone that can handle more than a couple of 100 mbps.

Don't assume that just because you see pictures on TV of refugee camps with poor starving people sitting in the desert without shelter that this is how most normal African people live.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (2, Informative)

fruey (563914) | about 11 years ago | (#8087071)

A lot of countries installed VSATs into a few key towns and then paying massive amounts for hardly any bandwidth at all and no national backbone at all.

Using a decent wireless solution is the only IP backbone most places I have been have had. Microwave mostly, some spread spectrum stuff. 100mbit backbone would be amazing in a lot of poorer places. Sure, cable would be better, but significantly more expensive. A lot of governments don't care about mid to long term, because nobody plans that way when they themselves don't intend to be there too much longer. They might lay cables in road development works and when distributing electricity, but to cover massive distances cheaply, wireless is the way to go.

Oh, and I've lived and worked in Africa. Tunisia, Morocco, Malawi, Niger... and in the Caribbean in Haiti too. I made the mistake of making a short post earlier, perhaps, but you are so wrong here. Have YOU been to Africa? Have YOU worked in telecoms in Africa? I have.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | about 11 years ago | (#8086892)

The backbone is better built by using fiber.

For many reasons this is not true in large parts of Africa. Heavy rain washes away entire roads, not to mention cables. Theft is an issue. Loose local authority means your cables are likely to be cut by arbitrary digging. Unclear land rights mean it's sometimes impossible to know who to contact for access rights. Crony competition (i.e. your competitors having friends in government) mean that it can take months or years for permits. Geography means there are constant physical impediments - rivers, forests, mountain ranges - that have no roads or bridges that can carry cable. You really do not want to try laying cable along a dirt path that could be entirely lost after the next rainy season.

These are the reasons Africa is not already cabled, because the demand is there, from business and from the private sector ISPs that run the 'internet and phone shops' that are for many Africans their international point of contact.

Wireless gets around all these issues and actually has more potential than in Europe/USA because there is less regulation of the airwaves. So the power of amplifiers can be increased: that 50km can be turned into 100 or 200km.

About the only places where cables are practical are in population centers.

And indeed, the notion of using fixed lines for the 'last mile' is already heavily used in Africa: a standard model is to use a VSAT link (with perhaps 128kbps capacity, which gives you an idea of the current market) that sends out an outshoot of cables to a neighbourhood of telephone / internet shops. Few homes have or even need IP access, the cybercafe model is successful and currently the only bottleneck is that huge investment for the VSAT.

A network with 100km point-to-point access could cover a country like Nigeria with only a few thousand nodes. This sounds a lot but if the equipment is cheap, I suspect it would be significantly cheaper than any other solution, including laying fibre-optic cables.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (1)

pesc (147035) | about 11 years ago | (#8087139)

I'll admit right away that I know quite little about Africa in general, but hey! This is Slashdot! ;-)

For many reasons this is not true in large parts of Africa. Heavy rain washes away entire roads, not to mention cables. Theft is an issue. ... ...These are the reasons Africa is not already cabled

True, there are some unique problems with using cable in Africa. You can't use it everywhere. But Nigeria is already using cable [cia.gov] . Just think about if they used fiber instead of coax! And you don't usually lay fiber in the jungle. You lay it near paved roads (60,068 km (including 1,194 km of expressways) ) or railways (3,557 km). And where that is not enough, you can use microwave radio links (which Nigeria already does). It's just that I don't think WiMax is a good substitute for all that.

Since Nigeria is the ninth most populous country [cia.gov] in the world with more than 130 million people, I think the benefit of a good well-dimensioned communication infrastructure would be great. Even if the country is poor.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (2, Interesting)

heironymouscoward (683461) | about 11 years ago | (#8087300)

Well, despite posting on Slashdot, I've spent many months in Nigeria and while 1200 Km of expressways sounds a lot, it's not for a country that is almost a million square Km. As soon as you leave the main cities you are on secondary roads made of a thin layer of tarmac over hard earth. Cables? Where?

Microwave links are used, yes, but mainly as we might use leased lines - expensive point-to-point links between two business locations, between an ISP and a company, that kind of thing.

Microwave links do not work when it rains, however. This means they are out of action (in Nigeria's south) for a day or more per week during the rainy season. As you go north this is less of a problem. In countries like Congo it rains even more and the air is so humid microwave links are a problem.

Good communications are always a boost for a country - look at GSM networks, which in some places have multiplied people's standards of living by a factor of five or more simply because they can work around the sheer awfulness of the roads and communications infrastructure and start to do business efficiently.

Of course Africa needs better communications. The challenges are not trivial, however, nor the same as we know in the US and Europe.

Re:Great potential for developing countries (1)

The Pim (140414) | about 11 years ago | (#8086881)

There is no real demand for this kind of technology in countries that are already well-cabled with more fibre-optic cable than they can ever use.

Technically, this may be true (ignoring the issue of rural areas). But economically, this could finally break the monopoly of last-mile providers. Think of how great it will be to get a fast connection from a company without an interest in stifling change, cordoning off the free Internet, and keeping prices artificially high. I bet this development is what will finally give us cheap, ubiquitous, and unhindered high-speed Internet access.

USA will get broadband this way. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 11 years ago | (#8087248)

I think what WiMax will do is finally make broadband Internet available to most of the USA.

You see, one of the biggest problems with trying to set up broadband in the USA is the sheer size of the country and the fact USA metropolitan areas are so widely spread out, which drastically increases the cost of setting up DSL and cable modem broadband access. With WiMax, you essentially have solved the Last Mile problem of getting broadband access into the home, especially in rural areas. Also, because WiMax works with moving vehicles and trains up to 250 km/h (155 mph), it also means mobile access isn't an issue, too.

WiMax in wide range of bands (5, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | about 11 years ago | (#8086732)

The original article alludes to using WiMax in licensed bands such as 2.5 to 2.7 GHz and, while another article [ofdmnews.com] suggests the potential for operation in a wide range of bands from 2 to 11 GHz (and early testing in unlicensed frequencies at 5.8 GHz). This suggests that these devices will initially be available in mutually incompatible consumer versions (unlicensed spectrum) and service provider versions (licensed spectrum).

I wonder what this will do for adoption because the volume on the RF components will be fragmented across multiple bands. I also wonder if people will create WiMax variants that interfere with WiFi by operating in the same frequency space.

Re:WiMax in wide range of bands (1)

hayds (738028) | about 11 years ago | (#8086775)

Is it reasonable to assume that there will be consumer versions of this? If there are, I would guess that the transmit power would be severly capped.

I dont know much about this spec but I would guess that ISPs using it to create 1 or 2 or 5 networks around a city would be a handy thing. This seems to be what its for. AFAIK (im not an expert) tens of thousands of consumers setting up their own 802.16 networks with a 50km range would cause a major traffic jam in that spectrum.

But then, when they say that it has a 50km range, what do they mean? Obviously its dependant on the hardware but what is the range of 802.16 like compared to 802.11b/g? To most people, 802.11b/g has a range of under 100m but there are some setups that reach 20km.

Wonderful! and Open Source enabled? (3, Insightful)

Leon Yendor (216067) | about 11 years ago | (#8086773)

Given that, so far, only 802.11b is truly Open Source capable, can we hope that this one will be ?

As so many (supposedly) Open Source coders have been ready to wave their legs in the air and sign NDAs to do drivers for various supposedly OS-Oses I won't hold my breath.

Don't know which ones? If they aren't 802.11b just try to see the hardware specs they used to write the driver. The code is NOT open if you can't publish the specs.

Re:Wonderful! and Open Source enabled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086794)

Welcome to Linux FUD. Drivers are closed source binary only. Look at Atheros, you CANNOT put this into PROMISCOUS mode without shelling out $$$$ for drivers.

Why buy Atheros Chips based cards when you cant get the FULL operation by crippled drivers.

I want promiscous mode drivers for windows (and linux) for Atheros chipsets.


Security(WiMax) Security(WiFi)? (2, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | about 11 years ago | (#8086799)

I do hope that WiMax features more robust encryption than does WiFi with WEP. Something tells me that service providers are not going to be too concerned with interception of their customer's packets (only theft of bandwidth). And even if WiMax is "secure," I'm sure that it will include a nice backdoor for government counter-freedom operations.

Re:Security(WiMax) Security(WiFi)? (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 11 years ago | (#8086928)

Encryption should not be a part of the protocol, it should be separate so it can be updated as technology improves

Just boost wifi power to, oh say, 800-1400 watts (3, Funny)

weave (48069) | about 11 years ago | (#8086824)

Imagine the benefits of allowing wifi card makers to boost the power of their transmiters. It would make the microwave oven obsolete too. An entire dinner could be cooked while it sits on the dinner table, oe for that matter, before it even leaves the grocery store. Cows could be cooked while they stand in the fields. Also, no need for water purification plants, since all rivers and lakes would be under a constant boil. And, best yet, no need for artificial heat in your house during those cold winter months, since you'd be warmed from within!

Re:Just boost wifi power to, oh say, 800-1400 watt (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8086865)

The eye is the only part of the human body which does not have a natural cooling mechanism.

During WWII, radar techs in Britain would frequently step outside in front of their radars to take the chill off the foggy, rainy british weather.

Oddly enough, many are today suffering from a form of blindness much akin to hard-boiling an egg. The proteins change from clear to white... (similar to cataracts, except the whole viscous substance in the eye) Also, cataracts too is much more common.

Strange coincidence, that.

Microwave, rf, big bucks and bandwidth (1)

Halvard (102061) | about 11 years ago | (#8086867)

oh my!

This sounds expensive.

This sounds only like a service provider tool from a big building to a lot of locations with the downstread demarc connecting to service provider equipment with ethernet out or long haul out to remote locations. I can see this probably will be a tool for telcos or big companies/governments in the 3rd world or other locations in the US. I can see this used to feed bandwidth into more rural areas where high capacity fiber won't be pushed and then the big boys can push DSL while waiting to sell bandwidth do their smaller competitors

If you've got pockets with money and can pay alot to use a big building's roof ala TowerStream [towerstream.com] . But you still need your bandwidth from somewhere.

Wow, the future is the past. Microwave for broadband like AT&T Long Lines [long-lines.net] . Now it looks like selling those towers off was like Polaroid selling off anything digital.

NYC: you tawkin' ta ME? (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 11 years ago | (#8086872)

I work with the NYC City Council, and we're studying wireless "broadband" deployment. NYC has 20M people inside a 50Km radius - that's 8bps per person on a 155Mbps 802.16a segment. And the multipath reflections through our concrete canyons would destroy much of that bandwidth. Cranking down the power reduces the multipath, and allows our dense city to scope a segment to a smaller footprint, shared by a manageable number of people. How about attenuating the shape of the field, a la Pringles can, to merely fill the grid of Manhattan streets? External building antennae can hook the WAN signal to LANs, without wasting its power soaking through the concrete. Anyone have a field demo of this topology running? Want to talk to my committee in sunny Manhattan?

With all due respect, (1, Flamebait)

flat235 (724288) | about 11 years ago | (#8086878)

Bullshit. "802.anything" is a joke. I'm no great networking hero, but I know that every single wireless setup I've ever seen runs at less than half its rated capacity - even when the WAP and client are in LOS, less than 10m away from each other.

A guy I know recently forked over a lot of $$$ for a "54mbit" setup (wireless cable router and a 54mbit PCI card) - the kit is spaced about 15 metres apart, with only 2 non-load-bearing walls (read partitions) in the way - it runs at about 10mbps.

My own kit is a simple WAP and PCMCIA card - old kit - supposedly 11mbps. Runs at just over 2mbps.

So, I ask you this:

Has anyone here ever actually got the advertised rate from this stuff (or even anything close)? Or am i condemned to watch my streamed divx pr0n at 10fps for eternity ;) ?

Afterthough: Will they ever actually make 802.xx kit which *actually works as a network card* - ie allowing frame injection using libpcap? Or is my segfault / bsod pain to continue?

Re:With all due respect, (1)

TMW2N (157210) | about 11 years ago | (#8086971)

with all due respect to you. i think you'll find that wired ethernet is an 802.xx standard. and well, that seems to work quite well with my network cards.

Re:With all due respect, (0, Flamebait)

flat235 (724288) | about 11 years ago | (#8087117)

You are correct. But, if you didnt know what I meant when i said 802.xx, then I think you've been at your keyboard too long :/

Works for me.. (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | about 11 years ago | (#8087039)

I went down and bought a cheap system, set it up in about 10 minutes, and it works great! Easiest network I ever setup. The bandwidth I get is higher than my cable bandwidth, so no problems in that area, and it works in every room in my house.

Being a standard makes it easy for me to buy components for my handheld, laptop, and desktops while still being cheap. And bonus! My cards are compatible with my company and also most of the coffee shops in the area.

Can you describe a system that works better? That I can buy today? Or would it just be a joke?

Re:With all due respect, (1)

neur0maniak (322791) | about 11 years ago | (#8087085)

I have two 22Mbps access points about 300 metres apart running at full speed. It's used so that my sister can connect to the internet using my internet connection. I also run my laptop off the thing and I get a solid connection no-matter where I am in the house.

Re:With all due respect, (1)

flat235 (724288) | about 11 years ago | (#8087127)

>> It's used so that my sister can connect to the internet using my internet connection.

OK - it *says* its running at 22mbps - but it it actually able to transfer data at ~22mbps? If it's only used for internet access, its either impossible to tell, or you have very, very fast internet access ;)

Re:With all due respect, (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 11 years ago | (#8087198)

yes, i get rated speed from my powerline connection.. streaming video across pc's is why I GOT RID OF my 802.11b wifi and went powerline..

Re:With all due respect, (1)

AttilaSz (707951) | about 11 years ago | (#8087461)

My 802.11b kit runs at cca. 5MBit/sec when I'm sitting some 8 metres from it, separated by a single (altough bearing, 30cm thick) wall.

Re:With all due respect, (1)

irix (22687) | about 11 years ago | (#8087568)

The 11 Mbit and 54 Mbit ratings are theoretical maximums, not something you are going to observe in the field. You have transmission and protocol overhead, interference (even with a few partitions in the way) and your crappy consumer-grade access point and card standing in the way of that kind of performance.

Re:With all due respect, (1)

flat235 (724288) | about 11 years ago | (#8087671)

Yes, and I would be extremely happy if the overheads (including interference from my crappy consumer grade WAP - which indeed, it is) were 10% .. or 20% ... or hell, even 33% .. but no. Surely you can't seek to justify my supposed 11mbps running at under 2mbps as overhead / intereference?

Re:With all due respect, (1)

srslif16 (588208) | about 11 years ago | (#8087931)

The infamous bit-rates quoted, like 11Mbit/s for the 802.11b, are measured at the air interface. That means that some 60-70%, at best, is user data. That means that your pr0n-download will be at rates of 7Mbit/s - at most, under ideal conditions. Avoid fogs.

In my experience, you get less than half the bandwidth compared to the announced. 11Mbit/s gives 5Mbit/s, provided you're all alone using the node. That is still nice, but I always pack a nework cable, a modem cable when I go travelling with my laptop.

I don't know why slashdot is so hung up on WiFi (1)

Magnus Pym (237274) | about 11 years ago | (#8087078)

Someone predicts that a new standard will be available in 2005, with equipment presumeably following a year after, and it makes headlines on slashdot. In the meantime, hardcore 3G makes it to the United States and nary a peep out of the slashdot editors.

The most exciting telecomm development that I have seen in the last year is Verizon's announcement that they are going to roll out EV-DO in the US. This has already had serious consequences in the cellular industry, with AT&T/Cingular being forced to accelerate merger talks to compete with the offering.

I think the problem is that the slashdot editors are PC geeks who have played around with WLANs and so understand the technology somewhat, but have no clue as to the kind of technology uber-cooolness that goes into making a 3-G system. From a comm-theory standpoint, WiFi is a joke compared to the theoretical and technological miracle that allows you to make a call over a digital cell-phone.

WiFi technologies are simply this: a desperate effort by the traditional "datacomm" companies to grab a piece of the lucrative cell-phone business. WiFi is their lever, and they are trying their best to use it to muscle into the business, by making wild claims and even wilder technological predictions. These datacomm companies do not have the technological knowhow to make real competitors to cell-phone systems, and they have latched on to WiFi as a drowning man to a piece of wood. Maybe when Flarion's product matures, they will have a better story.

While I sympathize with the objectives of the Ciscos, Broadcoms and Intels of the world, I can still see through their rather transparent claims.

Slashdot seems to have bought the WiFi line hook, line and sinker.


Re:I don't know why slashdot is so hung up on WiFi (1)

kaplong! (688851) | about 11 years ago | (#8087421)

I think the difference is that you rarely set up your own cell phone network.

Re:I don't know why slashdot is so hung up on WiFi (1)

RicoX9 (558353) | about 11 years ago | (#8088713)

Last time I checked, Verizon/BellSouth/etc weren't making 3G network cards and access points for deliverable in-building networking. Nor are they making bridges for short building-to-building links.

I have exactly the opposite opinion of the wireless tech that you do. I could give a shit less about 3G. It's useless to me, as I don't travel much, and have no need for it.

3G still does nothing for the stated purpose of this equipment, which seems to be long range high bandwidth wireless links to provide data service where there currently is none. 3G still needs WIRED towers, which have a decidedly limited range and even more limited throughput as distance increases.

Each application has its' place. I see no hook line and sinker, as there have been a plethora of 3G articles here over the years.

Intel is making a WiMax chip (1)

andy1307 (656570) | about 11 years ago | (#8087280)

Intel [businessweek.com] also is making graphics chips for handheld computers, pushing into digital-imaging chips, and planning to roll out WiMax, a Wi-Fi standard that may help bring the Internet to rural areas and developing countries at a fraction of today's cost (see BW, 1/19/04, "The Next Big Thing For Wireless?" [businessweek.com] ). With the chips rolling out in a steady stream, few are betting against Intel this year.

From the article in the link

The Next Big Thing For Wireless? [businessweek.com]

The Next Big Thing For Wireless? WiMax is a lot faster than Wi-Fi and has a bigger range -- but success isn't assured

Everywhere you turn these days, there seems to be a new way to zap data through the ether: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G. Now comes yet another addition to this alphabet soup, a technology that can blast data seven times faster and up to a thousand times farther than popular Wireless Fidelity, or Wi-Fi, systems. Officially called IEEE 802.16 but marketed under the sexier moniker WiMax, it's bound to be a hot topic this year, thanks to aggressive backing from chip giant Intel (INTC ) and support from equipment makers such as Nokia (NOK ) and Alcatel (ALA ). The first WiMax gear should be on the market by the end of 2004.

Think of it as Wi-Fi on steroids. While Wi-Fi hotspots have a radius of about 100 feet, WiMax uses state-of-the-art microwave radio technology to span distances as great as 30 miles. That means it could be used as an alternative to copper wire and coaxial cable for connecting homes and businesses to the Internet. If it flies, WiMax could reinvigorate competition between dominant telecom and cable companies and rivals using a whole new infrastructure -- not just leasing space on existing networks. "This is the next telecom revolution," says Rudy Leser, vice-president of marketing for Tel Aviv-based Alvarion Ltd. (ALVR ), the leading maker of broadband wireless equipment.

That's just for starters. The real buzz about WiMax is that Intel Corp. is aiming to shrink the technology down to a chip so that it can be built directly into PCs and laptops. Intel did the same thing for Wi-Fi with its Centrino mobile processor line and helped accelerate the Wi-Fi boom. Analysts figure WiMax laptops could show up by 2006, letting people get on the Net wirelessly virtually anywhere. "If you like Wi-Fi, you're going to love Wi-Fi everywhere," says Sean M. Maloney, general manager of the Intel Communications Group. Pyramid Research LLC of Cambridge, Mass., figures that nearly 4 million people will be using such "broadband wireless" technology by 2008. Revenues from broadband wireless services -- mostly based on WiMax -- could top $2.1 billion annually by that time.

If all of this sounds like a marketing pitch from the 1990s bubble, it should. Telecom startups such as Winstar LLC (IDT ) and Teligent Inc. went broke trying to sell similar wireless technology to businesses and homes. But WiMax has a big cost advantage. The boom-era startups used proprietary equipment that cost as much as $1,200 for every customer site -- three times as much as early WiMax products are expected to. Thanks to standardization, prices should plunge even further in the future, to less than $200 for the gear that sits at the customer's site. Then, when WiMax migrates into laptops, the cost to buy into it will edge toward zero.

Still, success is hardly assured. The biggest question is whether even gung-ho techies need another technology to tap the Net. Wired broadband is widely available in homes and businesses in the U.S., Western Europe, and parts of Asia. The rapidly spreading Wi-Fi provides speedy Web links on the go. And wireless companies are rolling out ever-faster ways for their customers to tap the Net. On Jan. 8, for instance, U.S. giant Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ ) is expected to unveil a nationwide rollout of a competing wireless technology that provides data speeds of up to two megabits per second.

Even if incumbent telecom companies hold back, rivals are likely to see opportunity in WiMax. The No. 5 mobile operator in the U.S., Nextel Communications Inc. (NXTL ), has been snapping up broadband wireless licenses around the country and is widely expected to enter the business. Digital subscriber line (DSL) providers such as Covad Communications Group Inc. (COVD ) also could jump on WiMax to free themselves from the cost of licensing phone lines from regional Bell operating companies. And a crop of so-called wireless Internet service providers that offer local Wi-Fi services are prime candidates to graduate to WiMax.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity for WiMax lies in the developing world. Large areas of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe aren't wired for telephone service, let alone cable. With WiMax, they could leapfrog directly to broadband. That's one reason players such as China Unicom Ltd. (CHU ) and Serbia's Telekom Srbija are already rolling out broadband wireless gear. These and dozens of other companies likely will switch to even cheaper WiMax when it becomes available. Pyramid Research figures that the number of broadband wireless users in the developing world will grow at a compound annual rate of 54% over the next five years, vs. 34% in developed nations. "WiMax could help close the Digital Divide," says Pyramid analyst John Yunker.

Suppliers already are scrambling to serve the market. "We are big believers in broadband wireless," says Niel Ransom, chief technology officer for Paris-based Alcatel, the world's No. 1 seller of conventional DSL gear. Alcatel hasn't announced WiMax products yet, but "there's no way we're going to sit on our hands," Ransom says. Neither is Alvarion, which is likely to be the first company to release WiMax-compatible gear late this year. All told, figures Pyramid, operators will spend $5.4 billion over the next four years on broadband wireless gear.

For consumers, WiMax holds out the promise of increased broadband competition, lower prices, and more freedom. That's a combination sure to turn a few heads.

By Andy Reinhardt in Paris

Return of the Marketdroid's (1)

MadHungarian1917 (661496) | about 11 years ago | (#8087437)

Once again we are confronted with the hype for a new all singing all dancing wireless broadband standard which operates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. The data rates are theoretically possible with no interference from Microwave Ovens, cordless phones 802.11x.

With commercially available equipment from Cisco you can already build a reliable 25Km link which requires that the antennas be mounted at the 150' level due to the curvature of the earth.

So the advertised range figures are possible but only in environments such as the Serengeti with the transmitters mounted on 500' towers. In this environment this could bring true internet backbones to the third world. Remeber up to 1996 or so the transcontinental links were only DS3 (44Mb/Sec)

Since when have the marketdroids ever allowed someting like the laws of physics to interfere with their hype since they will try and tell you a single tower located in a valley will serve all the communities around it which happen to be on the other side of the range of hills surrounding the valley with the predictable results (Sigh...)

Finally (2, Insightful)

Fjord (99230) | about 11 years ago | (#8087823)

People can stop trying to hack 802.11[abg] into a long range protocol. I've have potential clients ask me for long range wireless solutions and basically had to tell them that it can be done with 802.11[abg] but it's hacky, unsupported, and I can't do it (being a software guy and neither an infrastructure nor soldering guy).

Re:Finally (2, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | about 11 years ago | (#8088096)

People can stop trying to hack 802.11[abg] into a long range protocol.

Maybe I'm reading you wrong, but I have a couple of questions:
1. How do you define "long range"? With a couple of directional antennas, a 1 mile 802.11b link is very solid.
2. Have you looked at the previous articles on slashdot on last-mile 802.11* solutions? One of them pointed to fab-corp.com who I have dealt with, and whose products, service, and information are top notch.

If with FAB's information you're still overwhelmed, there are lots of good resources on doing this, without having to resort to mangling floppy disks, paperclips, and pringles cans, all in ways that give you a robust, stable long range solution.

Five mod points, no sensible replies here (4, Informative)

puzzled (12525) | about 11 years ago | (#8087902)

I've got five moderator points this morning and there is exactly one post in here I'd mod up - the guy who suggested that people not post if they don't know anything, but he already has a +5.

There is a link in my sig to my journal and there you'll find a brief description of how 802.11 (wireless lan) and 802.16 (wireless access) differ.

50km == 30 miles. I've installed 2400MHz and 5800MHz links on the same 22 mile path and I've done a bunch of other 20 +/- 2 mile shots using 5800MHz.

At 22 miles with 19dB dishes on each end we saw analog modem speeds with 2400MHz (802.11b) equipment. Using 29dB 2' Andrew dishes and 100mw 5800MHz radios we saw a solid 5+ mbits on a radio that maxed out at 8 mbits.

I've planned a 40km 45 mbit shot for a project that didn't go through - I think we had a 4' dish on the remote tower and a 6' dish on the skyscraper end of the link.

Whatever band and modulation method they're using in these breathy 802.16 announcements the physics aren't going to be much different than what I describe above - long shots are point to point, cells are small (3km - 4km) if you want to go fast, and I mentally say "snake oil" when I hear the letters O-F-D-M. It works, but it ain't "all that", as they say.

So, mod me wise, or mod me troll, but know this: The slashdot collective has as much business talking about wireless networking as any room full of male gynecologists and cross dressers has talking about childbirth.

50 K range? (2, Funny)

crawdad62 (308893) | about 11 years ago | (#8088571)

Wow you won't even need a "sniffer." You'll be able to smell that from the next city.
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