WiMax Spec Ratified

Anchors away!

The latest version of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)'s 802.16d fixed wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) standard has been ratified, opening the way for the first wave of WiMAX products based on the specification.

And the chairman of 802.16 working group, Roger B. Marks, tells Unstrung that the mobile version of the specification – 802.16e – may not be that far behind.

"We have a realistic schedule for completion of the standard this year," Marks says in an email reply to questions.

There's still very little detail on the kind of data-transfer speed or range offered by the newly ratified 802.16d technology. "These are not specified," writes Marks. "They depend on a lot of factors... Operators can design for a number of scenarios." Some of these factors include the channels and bandwidth available and where an operator can position antennas.

But – without readily available technical data – a lot of WiMAX mumbo jumbo has grown up around the capabilities of 802.16. Unstrung has heard every kind of figure – from 30 Mbit/s over 30 miles, to 2 Mbit/s over a few miles.

Perhaps the WiMAX Forum can start to put out some more information on speeds and feeds as it starts to test initial products based on the spec, which are due out late this year or early in 2005. [Ed. note: Wouldn't hold your breath.]

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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