August 24
, 2004  (STAR) TXT IN D CITY By Patrick R. Garcia BIDSHOT WIRELESS SERVICES - A new emerging broadband technology known as WiMax is the latest buzzword in the wireless technology front. If you are familiar with Wi-Fi and its 100-meter range, imagine the same but with a 50-kilometer range which provides total data rates of up to 280 Mbps per base station instead! Yes, WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is touted to be the "last mile" solution for bringing high-speed Internet access into our Philippine cities outside of Metro Manila. Currently, last mile connections are typically made through cable, DSL (digital subscriber line), fiber optic connections and even standard phone lines. The ability to provide these connections wirelessly, without laying wire or cable in the ground, will greatly lower the cost to provide these services to a broader population.

WiMax is the new shorthand term for IEEE Standard 802.16, also known as "Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems." It has been designed from the beginning to be compatible with European standardization, as such came the birth of the WiMax Forum started up by Nokia and composed of a group of vendors and service providers such as Siemens, Alcatel, Motorola and British Telecom. The thrust of the Forum is to promote the adoption of IEEE 802.16-compliant equipment and to facilitate the deployment of broadband wireless networks based on the IEEE 802.16 standard by helping ensure the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless access equipment. The deployment of WiMax will initially entail the rollout of fixed wireless connections via outdoor antennas or base stations to be used by high-throughput enterprise connections (T1/E1 class services), cellular network backhaul and premium residential services. The second phase will consist of indoor installations of smaller antennas similar to the Wi-Fi access points of today. In this fixed indoor model, WiMAX will be available for use in wide consumer residential broadband deployments since the devices become "user-installable." The final phase, sometime in 2006, the technology will be integrated into mobile computers and phones to support roaming between WiMAX service areas.

I’m sorry if I may be losing you readers with all the tech jargon, but the real value of such an innovation is how it translates to practical use for us common Joes. For an emerging market like ours where wired infrastructure is very limited or non-existent, try to visualize being able to put up an antenna and provide high-speed Internet using regular radio signals to thousands of customers who have little access to the Internet or even wired phones. Such was the formula for the success of the mobile phone and for the demise of the landline. So maybe in the next couple of years, my buddy who lives in Jolo may finally get to realize his dream of a broadband connection? WiMax is also expected to support mobile wireless technology – that is, wireless transmissions directly to mobile end-users. Imagine a WiMax chip to be embedded in your mobile phone enabling you with always-on and broadband speed courtesy of a WiMax network. Watch streaming videos and download MP3s directly to your mobile phone while on the go. Once you venture deeper in the countryside and out of WiMax service radius, your cellphone’s roaming facilities then automatically switch you back to your telecom network for the continued delivery of Internet data via further improved GPRS service. Wow, I am excited about the extensive possibilities of WiMax!

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Patrick R. Garcia is the managing director of Bidshot Wireless Services. For comments or suggestions, text your message to 233011 (Globe) or 2430018 (Smart), or e-mail

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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