WLAN (IEEE 802.11B) and WMAN (802.16A): Broadband wireless access, when opportunities drive solutions

Published 1 May 2003 by Alberto Escudero Pascual

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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) approved in 1997 the Standard 802.11, followed by Standard 802.11b in 1999.

Although the standards were intended for indoor wireless local area networks (WLAN), it took very little time to see WLAN-based products in point-to-point and point-to-multipoint outdoor solutions. The WLAN opportunity and its potencial benefits drove vendors and users to find innovative approaches to overcome the IEEE 802.11b native problems in outdoor environments.

In April 2002, the IEEE Standard 802.16 was approved, a standard that focuses on broadband wireless access in metropolitan area networks (WirelessMAN). The new standard is expected to bring low cost and more bandwidth efficient products for broadband wireless access in the next years. Time will show what will be the fial role of IEEE 802.11b in indoor and outdoor environments, but what we can not deny is the benefits and opportunities that provides today.

Keyword(s): Wireless, Wi-Fi, Wi-MAX