As expected, Intel and a host of other wireless companies said they would more heavily promotoe the 802.16 metropolitan wireless standard through the WiMax industry group.
The Forums members intend to set out to develop the 802.16 specification as a wireless alternative to DSL or cable modem. Unlike 802.11a, 802.1b, or 802.11g, the 802.16 technology is seen as a high-speed wireless backbone, to link client sites which may then form a WAN out of 802.11b-enabled PCs.
"Truly the biggest competitor Proxim has today is not other wireless competitors, but the leased line market," said Jeff Orr, a product manager at Proxim.
The WiMax Forums members now include Airspan Networks, Alvarion Ltd., Aperto Networks, Ensemble Communications Inc., Fujitsu Microelectronics America, Intel Corporation, Nokia, OFDM Forum, Proxim Corporation and Wi-LAN Inc.
The distances that 802.16 technology will travel probably wont be as rosy as first predicted, probably between 20 to 35 miles, industry members said. Maximum data rates will likely be about 70 Mbits, or about 5 bits per channel per hertz, said Margaret LaBrecque, president of wiMax and a member of Intels wireless initiatives group. However, signal frequencies can range from between 10 to 66-GHz, and between 2 to 11-GHz using the additional bandwidth tacked on by the 802.16a draft specification approved in January.
Fujitsu Microelectronics hopes to have a system-on-chip solution for 802.16a by mid-2004, a spokesman for the company said. Intel did not announce plans to produce silicon, but sources at wireless infrastructure firms said that Intels future entrance into the 802.16 market is likely.
WiMax will also work group also will work with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to develop test plans for HIPERMAN, the European broadband wireless metropolitan area access standard. No complementary wireless MAN industry body has been announced in Japan.
An 802.16e mobility standard is also being developed to allow roaming basestations, although such development is most likely years down the road, given that the standard has yet to be finalized.