Q

Could you give me a list of emerging wireless access technologies?

W ireless expert Lisa Phifer provides us with a comprehensive list of emerging wireless access technologies in this response.

Could you give me a plain list of emerging wireless access technologies?

Wireless access technologies are commonly divided into categories, based on speed and distance.

  • Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) technologies are designed to reach only about 10 meters. IrDA and Bluetooth are two common WPAN examples. Emerging technologies in this space include 802.15.4a (Zigbee) and 802.15.3c (UWB).
  • Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technologies can deliver up to 200 Mbps at distances up to 100 meters. 802.11a/b/g (Wi-Fi) are widely-deployed WLAN examples. Proprietary MIMO products and the new 802.11n high-speed WLAN standard are emerging technologies in this category.
  • Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN) technologies deliver up to 75 Mbps over wireless "first mile" links that span several kilometers. There have been several iterations of the 802.16 Broadband Wireless Access WMAN standard, certified under the brand WiMAX. Fixed WiMAX is now being complemented by the emerging 802.20 Mobile WiMAX standard.
  • Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) technologies now deliver up to a few hundred Kbps over large service areas like cities, regions, or even countries. Commonly-deployed WWAN technologies include GSM/GPRS/EDGE and CDMA2000 1xRTT. These services are gradually being complemented by newer third-generation technologies like UMTS/HSDPA and CDMA EV-DO Rev.0/A. Future technologies here include HSUPA and EV-DO Rec.C.
To learn more about these and other emerging wireless technologies, visit searchMobileComputing's 802.xx fast reference guide.

This was first published in April 2007

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