WiMAX lives up to 10 percent
of its surrounding hype, it will revolutionize our lives even more than
alert) has. To simplify matters, think of WiMAX as a service
provider for WiFi. By that, I mean it is a way for service providers to
offer true wireless broadband access over dozens of miles.
met with a company called Redline Communications,
alert) a leader in this space. Speaking with Keith Doucet, VP of
Marketing for the company, is like a college course in the technology
and benefits of WiMAX. To paraphrase him: The standard at the moment is
802.16�WiMAX products are coming soon (once they are certified by the
A Bit of
Technology Before We Get Rolling
broadband wireless radios need clearance�above and below their signal�in
order to transmit without interference. The amount of clearance is
typically half a wavelength longer along both sides of the signal. This
is called the Fresnel (pronounced �freh � nel�) zone, and the best way
to describe it is as follows. Let�s say a ruler represents the signal
passing from point A to point B. You would need free space the size of a
football around your ruler to ensure a clean signal. Over a ten-mile
distance, at 5.8 GHz for example, your zone would be about 30 feet above
and below in length.
I mention this fact
because Redline Communications does not need this zone clearance as the
company uses orthogonal frequency wavelength division multiplexing (OFWDM).
alert) This technology allows you to split data across multiple
frequencies and then, on the receiving end, reassemble that data back to
the original composition. This is helpful because there is likelihood
that interference�in the form of weather, or even a tree�could block
some of the signal.
the above technology with a number of others results in the ability to
theoretically exceed a staggering 1Gbps from a base station. Another
benefit of OFWDM is that you can place your radios lower than systems
that don�t employ this technology, minimizing the number of repeaters
example of 802.16 (news
alert) that was put to use is a Redline customer in the oil business
that needed more bandwidth than satellite could provide. In fact, this
company was able to upload less than one megabit per second via
satellite. By switching to 802.16, this customer was able to connect at
18-24Mbps. The closest rig to shore was 60 miles away and connected to a
tower on land that was 150 feet high. The oil rig had a pizza box-sized
antenna 100 feet above sea level. In order to achieve this feat, Redline
had to check the curvature of the Earth, and as it is, the ocean is
merely being skimmed!
wireless technology is not by any means limited to use on the ocean, it
is just a great example to show how it can be used to provide service
where there are no other options. Many predict that WiMAX will be the
preferred technology in backhauling data from base stations such as cell
towers or even WiFi hotspots.
best applications logically will be voice and video. And both require
alert) support, as well as security. WiMAX has built in both of
these from the start, as they learned from the mistakes of WiFi.
Hopefully, this will lead to more rapid adoption of this technology.
I am a fan
of 802.16/WiMAX. It is the great equalizer. Currently, there are two
ways to reach most companies and individuals: cable and copper. WiMAX
will allow more competition, but will do so at a lower cost. This is
competition that doesn�t require millions of miles of fiber in the
ground, as was required in the early CLEC days. WiMAX is advantageous to
service providers, corporations and individuals. It isn�t good for ILECS
and cable companies. I expect these companies to become WiMAX-based
service providers in areas they don�t currently serve. In the end, we
Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments.
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