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[April 11, 2003]

Intel, Nokia, Proxim, Others Launch WiMax

Intel, Nokia, Proxim, and a host of other companies yesterday launched WiMax, a non-profit group formed to certify and promote the developing wireless broadband standard 802.16. Other WiMax members include Airspan Networks, Alvarion, Aperto Networks, Ensemble Communications, and Wi-LAN

The standard -- which the IEEE modified in January -- is a wireless MAN technology that will connect 802.11 hot-spots to the Internet and provide a wireless extension to cable and DSL for last mile broadband access. 802.16 provides up to 31 miles of linear service area range and allows users connectivity without a direct line of sight to a base station. The technology also provides shared data rates up to 70Mbps, which, according to WiMax, is enough bandwidth to simultaneously support more than 60 businesses with T1-type connectivity and hundreds of homes. 

Many insiders argue that WiMax could pose a real threat to 3G and other wide area cellular data technologies. They claim that WiMax-powered hot spots could cheaply offer wireless broadband access to citywide areas, bringing Wi-Fi closer to cellular network levels of ubiquity.

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