What's next for wireless

Summary:The frequency is changing from wired working to a wireless world. Can this new wave of technology help you gain the cutting edge?

What's next for wireless
The frequency is changing from wired working to a wireless world. Can this new wave of technology help you gain the cutting edge?

Close range
Real-ity estate
The third generation

A world of instant communication was a dream for Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, and Nikola Tesla. They paved the path of modern communication and now businesses are set to reap the rewards as the next step is taken: Wireless.

Mobility-limiting cables are set to become a thing of the past with the many wireless solutions flooding onto the market. Currently there are six different types of wireless broadband networks commercially deployed in the country and Gartner has stated that Australia is now a "battleground and showcase for new wireless data services".

"Why wait for WiMAX to provide last mile wireless broadband access when alternative technologies are available now?"

Robin Simpson, Gartner
Findings from an upcoming Gartner report titled "Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and 3G: the battle has begun in Asia Pacific", show that despite the hype surrounding WiMAX, it will not be commercially available for at least three years.

"Why wait for WiMAX to provide last mile wireless broadband access, when users can take advantage of alternative technologies that are available now?" says Robin Simpson, research director, Mobile and Wireless at Gartner. "Australian businesses have recognised this, and the early signs are that they are prepared to pay for wireless broadband that gives them connectivity where they need it."

As both a financial and business hub for Asia-Pacific and with a population of more than four million people, Gartner considers Sydney a showcase for wireless data services. Several significant commercial networks are already deployed across the city, overcoming the infrastructure limitations and high costs of fixed broadband access.

The Gartner mobile connectivity report also proposes that the current wireless broadband technologies deliver what public Wi-Fi infrastructure promised but never delivered -- broadband and ubiquity.

"Hotspots were hyped as the technology providing ubiquitous wireless broadband coverage," says Simpson. "However, poor scalability means these will never provide the omnipresent access that business users require. They need true mobility, not the ability to read e-mails at the corner coffee shop."

Gartner expects that within two or three year's time WiMAX will become attractive to service providers, but in the meantime opportunities exist with the currently commercially available iBURST, IP Wireless, and Navini technologies. Which technology wins will be a matter of cost, the fit with existing infrastructure assets and skill sets, and timing.

"We believe that the Australian experience of providing wireless data services can be translated to any market worldwide with a significant installed base of desktop and laptop computers. Overcoming the challenge of last mile access through a truly mobile option is good for business, consumers, and the telcos themselves."

"One thing is certain," warns Simpson, "wireless broadband will change the way we communicate on the move. And in the heat of the battle, the carrier or operator that ignores wireless broadband will get lost in the dust of those who see the business opportunity."

Netgear's national ISP account manager Ryan Parker says that although wireless is still in it's infancy the future is looking bright.

"Although still in their emerging stages, 802.11x, 802.11n, and 802.16 WiMAX (see table below) will gain traction in the market, with many vendors already having their own pre-release interpretations of these standards," says Parker. "With the launch of the new Microsoft Media Centre PCs and Microsoft Extenders, we will also see the resurgence of the 802.11a standard, as it becomes the preferred medium for setting up the video network around the home.

  UWB Bluetooth Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Standard 802.15.3a 802.15.1 802.11a 802.11b 802.11g
Throughput 110-480Mbps Up to 720Kpbs Up to 54Mbps Up to 11Mbps Up to 54Mbps
Range Up to 30 feet Up to 30 feet Up to 300 feet Up to 300 feet Up to 300 feet
Frequency 7.5GHz 2.4GHz 5GHz 2.4GHz 2.4GHz

Standard 802.16d 802.16e 2.5G 3G 3G
Throughput Up to 75Mbps (20MHz BW) Up to 30Mbps (10MHz BW) Up to 384Kbps Up to 2.4 Mbps (typical 300-600Kbps) Up to 2Mbps (Up to 10Mbps with HSDPA technology)
Range Typical 4-6 miles Typical 1-3 miles Typical 1-5 miles Typical 1-5 miles Typical 1-5 miles
Frequency Sub 11GHz 2-6GHz 1900MHz 400, 800, 900, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100MHz 1800, 1900, 2100MH

"As always, speed will continue to play an important role in wireless development; however range, reliability, and security are also significant factors driving this technology forward."

Topics: Networking

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