January 26, 2004, 10:18 AM — Broadband wireless technologies will help bring the next five billion users to the Internet, an Intel Corp. executive explained at the Wireless Communications Association (WCA) annual symposium.
Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice-president and GM of the Intel Communications Group, outlined the company's plan to work with the industry to dramatically drive down the cost and increase the availability of broadband wireless technologies, including 802.11 wireless local area networking (WLAN) and 802.16 wireless metropolitan area networking (WMAN). This effort will help to attract the next wave of Internet users, particularly those in emerging markets such as China, India and Latin America.
Specifically, 802.16 technology, often referred to as WiMAX, aims to complement WLAN by connecting 802.11 hot-spots to the Internet, and also provide a wireless alternative for last-mile broadband connectivity to businesses and homes.
"The wireless service provider and telecommunication equipment industries are rallying around WiMAX technology because of its tremendous cost advantages to provide last-mile connectivity to large parts of the world that are too expensive to serve with wired technologies," says Maloney. "WiMAX-certified systems will provide the building blocks to connect the next five billion users to the Internet, and truly usher in the broadband wireless revolution."
The vision outlined by Intel includes delivery of standards-based silicon for both WLAN networking and cost-effective and interoperable 802.16 WMAN hardware. The 802.16 silicon -- which will be certified by the WiMAX Forum that oversees the compatibility and interoperability of 802.16 technology -- will be developed and deployed by a growing ecosystem of wireless equipment makers and service providers.
"We see a three-phased deployment of 802.16 technology that will begin with fixed outdoor antenna installations, quickly bringing wireless to emerging markets and speeding the installation of broadband services without the need to lay wire or cable," adds Maloney. "The technology will then rapidly progress to indoor antenna installations, broadening its appeal to carriers seeking simplified installation at user sites. Finally, in the third phase, WiMAX-certified hardware will be available in portable solutions for users who want to roam within or between service areas."
In addition to providing last-mile connectivity for WMAN networks, WiMAX-certified systems will also be used to connect 802.11 hot-spots and enterprises to the Internet.