Are We There Yet?
The WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability Microwave Access) industry consortium’s charter is to promote the “deployment of broadband wireless access networks by using a global standard and certifying interoperability of products and technologies.” With industry leaders such as Intel and Nokia among its members, it stands foursquare behind 802.16. To promote interoperability, WiMAX is developing system profiles of supported features and testing procedures for standards conformance and interoperability.
However, with the availability of products still a year or more away, and standards work on enhancements ongoing, it is hard to predict at this point exactly how successful 802.16 will be, what products will be coming on the market, and when significant deployment will begin. One possibility is that it will become a technology of choice in the carrier market; however, it is hard to judge what 802.16's role in the enterprise will be. Will its use be limited to broadband access, or will it be used for more?
As it is, wireless is one of the more active areas in network technology investment and product development. If the timing is right, when the economy picks up, 802.16 could be in the sweet spot for an infusion of investment and innovation. In our next article, we will discuss in greater detail how the 802.16 technology actually works and compare its potential for success with the already popular 802.11 standard.
A Technical Overview of 802.16: 802.16 Tutorial
802.16 Technical Specifications: IEEE 802.16's Published Standards and Drafts
IEEE 802.16 Working Group: "802.16"
WiMAX Industry Association: WiMAX Forum
Beth Cohen is president of Luth Computer Specialists, Inc., a consulting practice specializing in IT infrastructure for smaller companies. She has been in the trenches supporting company IT infrastructure for over 20 years in a number of different fields, including architecture, construction, engineering, software, telecommunications, and research. She is currently consulting, teaching college IT courses, and writing a book about IT for the small enterprise.
Debbie Deutsch is a principal of Beech Tree Associates, a data networking and information assurance consultancy. She is a data networking industry veteran with 25 years experience as a technologist, product manager, and consultant, including contributing to the development of the X.500 series of standards and managing certificate-signing and certificate management system products. Her expertise spans wired and wireless technologies for Enterprise, Carrier, and DoD markets.