Stamping a standard on wireless networks

The Standard Board of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has formally approved a standard for wireless metropolitan area networks (MANs).

The approval sets the stage for the widespread deployment of 10 to 66 GHz MANs as an economical method of high-speed ‘last-mile’ connection to public networks.

‘The new WirelessMAN standard is a groundbreaking development that changes the landscape for providers and customers of high-speed networks,’ said Roger Marks, Chair of the 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access. ‘The standard makes highly efficient use of bandwidth and supports voice, video and data applications with the quality that customers demand.’

The 802.16 standard creates a platform on which to build a broadband wireless industry using high-rate systems that install rapidly without extensive metropolitan cable infrastructures. It was created in a two-year, open-consensus process that involved hundreds of engineers from the world’s leading operators and vendors.

The standard enables interoperability among devices from multiple manufacturers. It includes a medium access control layer (MAC) that supports multiple physical layer specifications. The physical layer is optimised for bands from 10 to 66 GHz. Extensions to the 2 to 11 GHz bands are expected to be completed next summer in the Working Group’s 802.16a amendment.

The companion IEEE Standard 802.16.2 (‘IEEE Recommended Practice for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks – Coexistence of Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems’) was published by the IEEE in September 2001. This document provides guidelines for system deployment and is expected to be a valuable source of planning information for operators wishing to deploy IEEE 802.16 systems.

The global IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN air interface standard is the first broadband wireless access standard from an accredited standards body. It will be published by January 2002. Until then, the approved draft can be found in the IEEE catalog at http://WirelessMAN.org/published.html.