IEEE Extends 802.16 Standard

IEEE extends WirelessMAN broadband wireless metropolitan area network standard to support residential applications

February 4, 2003

2 Min Read

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- A new broadband wireless metropolitan area network (WirelessMAN) standard from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) provides for fixed broadband wireless access (BWA) between 2 and 11 GHz. The standard, IEEE 802.16a, is an extension of the global IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN standard for 10 to 66 GHz published in April 2002. As in the base 802.16 (TM) standard, the advanced technology it defines is designed from first principles to support multimedia services such as videoconferencing, voice and gaming. New features, including an optional mesh architecture, are also included. IEEE.802.16a, "Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems - Medium Access Control Modifications and Additional Physical Layer Specifications for 2-11 GHz," sets the stage for the widespread deployment of 2 to 11 GHz wireless MANs as an economical alternative to wireline "first-mile" connections to public networks. The standard supports licensed and license-exempt spectra between 2 and 11 GHz. These frequencies are well suited to residential and small business applications using non-line-of-sight links. Wireless internet services providers (WISPs), nationwide and multinational carriers, and independent telephone companies will be major customers of equipment developed under the standard. "The new IEEE 802.16a standard reshapes the broadband landscape," says Roger Marks, Chair of the 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access. "It closes the first-mile gap, giving users an easily installable, wire-free method to access core networks for multimedia applications. "Because the technology integrates well with IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs, IEEE 802.16a base stations are excellent candidates for wirelessly linking 802.11 hot spots to the Internet. The standard will also play a vital role in underdeveloped regions in which advanced wired infrastructures are unavailable." Compliance and interoperability testing of WirelessMAN air interfaces, from 2 to 66 GHz, is supported by the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) Forum. Global acceptance of the WirelessMAN standard is also supported by decisions of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to use a subset of 802.16a as a basis for an ETSI standard. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)

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