April 14, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

FAQ: Wi-Fi alphabet soup

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Do consumers really need dramatic increases in throughput over wireless networks?
Sharing broadband Internet access represents the top application for Wi-Fi networks in the consumer market. Since broadband connections typically perform well below 802.11b data transfer speeds, increased speeds offered by newer specifications such as 802.11g and MIMO do not yet mean much for consumers.

The question is most relevant for MIMO, which offers substantially higher speeds than any approved Wi-Fi standard. Manufacturers initially played up MIMO's role for multimedia applications, saying consumers would want to watch videos or play music streamed from a central home device. So far, those devices have failed to take off. More recently, device makers have touted MIMO-based products for their increased range.

What is WiMax? Will it replace Wi-Fi?
WiMax, similar to Wi-Fi, is a logo marking interoperability between products using a standard approved by the IEEE--802.16-2004. However, unlike Wi-Fi, WiMax makes wireless broadband Internet access directly available and is viewed as an alternative to high-speed cable and digital-subscriber lines. Wi-Fi products create wireless networks allowing those who can connect to the networks to share resources, such as an Internet connection or a printer.

WiMax is essentially radio technology that promises to deliver two-way Internet access at speeds of up to 75mbps at long range. Its backers claim that WiMax can transmit data up to 30 miles between broadcast towers and can blanket areas more than a mile in radius.

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Its a good story.. heres a little more..
I applaud the author for doing a lot of research on this issue. As someone implementing this in the buisness world, and using all of these technologies, plus others.. there is a lot more complexity to these devices as well as their ramifications.

One thing we need to stress as technology people is security in these wireless devices. Most people are implementing these devices with little or worse yet no security only to have problems with legal, sarbanes-oxley or HIPPA later on down the road.

In addition, the standards and naming can be a little confusing. What is being referred to in the article as 108MB Pre-N is not really pre-N, it is tagged as Super-G. The new Pre-N / N proposed standards are supposed to deliver (And ill treat this supposed as if a Microsoft representative said it if you know what i mean..) almost 1G of data bandwidth shared between all users on the Access point at the core and no less than 500MB of combined data at the fringe points. And oh yeah.. the fringe point is supposed to be almost a 1/4 mile in legnth.

When/If Pre-N/N ever really becomes a commonplace the need for higher security and responsibility becomes even that much more. Deployment of these devices without planning, security and site surveys opens persons and companies up to great liability. Dont believe me.. you will when homeland security comes knocking at your door one day for something your neighbor 3 doors down did on your internet connection.

Just a few thoughts.. but its nice to see something about wireless published where the author did their homework instead of spewing market press by some vendor.

Thanks for letting me give my 2 cents!

Be Well..

Bob.
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"We can never see past the choices we don't understand." - You should know who said this and why.
Posted by (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
802.11b has lower bandwidth and shorter range compared with other types of
?
802.11b has longer range in my experiences and in theory.
Posted by Yo-Min, Chu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
depends on the manufacturer
In theory, yes - in my experience, definitely not.
My new noname chinese .g+ cable router + access point(108 speed in theory) has a much better range (and it is fast)than my older Linksys .b thingie...
Posted by googey10 (27 comments )
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