WiMAX: What it means & how it works
July 12, 2006, 12:15am PDT | Length: 00:04:21
Sponsored: Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, or WiMAX, is a newcommunications technology that takes us past traditional land-based access(DSL, cable, T-1) and into the growing world of wireless. Andy Abramson of VOIPWatch lets you in on the secrets and specs for this exciting new standard.The content for this video was sponsored and provided by VOIP Watch.
Hi, I'm Andy Abramson, Editor of VoIP Watch, and today we'regoing to talk all about WiMAX, what it means and how it works. By definition,WiMAX stands for the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. I guesswe have to put an X over here at the end to make it polite.
So anyway, what is WiMAX? Well for starters, it's astandards-based alternative to DSL, cable and T1 lines. Let's go to our famousfriend, the infamous internet cloud. We'll just abbreviate it and call it INT.Coming out of the internet, you have three traditional means of high-speedaccess: cable, DSL and of course the T1 line. Each of these bring with itchallenges and limitations. The T1 line obviously is price, $600 or so usuallyhere in the US. For DSL the challenge is distance. If you go past about 17,000to 18,000 feet, you won't even get DSL but your speeds really fall off at about9 or 10,000 feet . Cross them off. And of course cable, first the cable companyhas to have a franchise and secondly they have to offer you high speed internetaccess where the cable goes.
Now, let's talk about WiMAX and how it overcomes theselimitations. First you're going to have a WiMAX tower. The WiMAX tower is goingto exist in multiple locations around the community or out in the countryside.That tower is going to transmit and receive signals that are WiMAX oriented.Where are they going to go? They're going to go to transceivers. Thosetransceivers, think of them like DSL or cable modems, receive and send WiMAXsignals back and forth to the towers. Those are connected to other devices, endpoints like computers, WiFi equipment, or anything that can receive an Ethernetconnection, like a router.
But also what's great about WiMAX is a standard calledmobile WiMAX will be coming into existence. For mobile WiMAX, people on the gowill be able to also access that same network of antenna towers that are allput together in a mesh format. As a matter of fact, that's what makes WiMAX sogreat. It fills in the gaps that you currently have that either the limitationsof DSL or cable impose, the costs of T1's or the fact that cell towers can't beeverywhere simply because of population concentration. That's what makes WiMAXso easy and a way to get people connected.
So what does all this mean and who's it going to benefit?Let's go back and visit with our friend, the cloud, only this time it's goingto be the WiMAX cloud. With WiMAX we create ubiquitous access. We're going tospell that out. U-B-I-Q-U-I-T-O-U-S, ubiquitous, basically meaning it goes everywhereand for everyone. What does that mean? It means that some of the sameapplications that ride over the high speed internet, over cable, DSL or T1 cannow reach everyone. I'm talking about high speed data, video, voice, andstreaming media.
By providing these four high speed intensive applicationsand services, WiMAX makes it easy to overcome something that troubles a lot ofnations and communities around the world. What is that? It's called the digitaldivide. The digital divide affects nations and communities. How? They don'thave high-speed internet. That puts them at a disadvantage. That means theydon't have data, video, voice and streaming which they need in order to competearound the world. This can be a country in Africa or it could be a communityhere in the United States. The digital divide like IP knows no boundaries.
So, is WiMAX just around the corner? Not quite. You stillhave standards to be finalized; they're not done yet. You deployments to bemade; they're just starting around the world. You've got some hardwarelimitations, both price and availability, but most of all there aren't anycustomers really using it in any mass form to make sure that WiMAX is reallygoing to work. Those challenges, though, like everything else with technology,will be overcome.