While wireless connectivity options have expanded rapidly in recent years, wireless network access is available now only in limited physical areas. Internet and intranet users need broadband access that extends over longer distances to more locations. The industry's solution is the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) standard, developed to create certified standards-based products from a wide range of vendors.
The WiMAX standard enables system vendors to create many different types of WiMAX-based products, including various configurations of base stations and customer premise equipment (CPE). WiMAX supports a variety of wireless broadband connections:
* High-bandwidth metropolitan-area networks (MANs) to home and small-business users, replacing DSL and cable modems;
* Backhaul networks for cellular base stations, bypassing the public switched telephone network;
* Backhaul connections to the Internet for WiFi hotspots.
Where they exist today, these applications use expensive proprietary methods for broadband wireless access. This expense can be dramatically reduced by using interoperability-tested WiMAX silicon solutions based on the IEEE 802.16d standard. Leaders in semiconductor technology, such as Fujitsu Microelectronics America, Inc., will deliver the expanded broadband wireless capability by working in close partnership with infrastructure and equipment manufacturers.
The WiMAX Forum promotes deployment of broadband wireless access networks by using a global standard and certifying interoperability of products and technologies. The Forum was founded in 2002 and now has more than 150 members, including Fujitsu Microelectronics America, Inc.
Like WiFi (IEEE 802.11) before it, WiMAX promises explosive growth. The key to taking advantage of WiMAX opportunities is to understand the technology's evolution and anticipated deployment.
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