IEEE Extends WirelessMAN™ Broadband Wireless Metropolitan Area Network Standard to Support Residential Applications

IEEE 802.16a™ Sets Stage for Deploying Fixed Broadband Wireless for High-Speed Multimedia Network Access

Roger Marks, Chair of the 802.16 Working Group
+1 303 497 7837,

Dean Chang, 802.16 Publicity Chair
+1 408 719 9977,

Karen McCabe +1 732 562 3824,

PISCATAWAY, N.J., 30 Jan 2003

A new broadband wireless metropolitan area network (WirelessMAN™) standard from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) provides for fixed broadband wireless access (BWA) between 2 and 11 GHz. The standard, IEEE 802.16a™, is an extension of the global IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN™ standard for 10 to 66 GHz published in April 2002.

As in the base 802.16™ standard, the advanced technology it defines is designed from first principles to support multimedia services such as videoconferencing, voice and gaming. New features, including an optional mesh architecture, are also included.

IEEE 802.16a, "Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems - Medium Access Control Modifications and Additional Physical Layer Specifications for 2-11 GHz," sets the stage for the widespread deployment of 2 to 11 GHz wireless MANs as an economical alternative to wireline "first-mile" connections to public networks.

The standard supports licensed and license-exempt spectra between 2 and 11 GHz. These frequencies are well suited to residential and small business applications using non-line-of-sight links. Wireless internet services providers (WISPs), nationwide and multinational carriers, and independent telephone companies will be major customers of equipment developed under the standard.

"The new IEEE 802.16a standard reshapes the broadband landscape," says Roger Marks, Chair of the 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access. "It closes the first-mile gap, giving users an easily installable, wire-free method to access core networks for multimedia applications.

"Because the technology integrates well with IEEE 802.11™ wireless LANs, IEEE 802.16a base stations are excellent candidates for wirelessly linking 802.11 hot spots to the Internet. The standard will also play a vital role in underdeveloped regions in which advanced wired infrastructures are unavailable."

Compliance and interoperability testing of WirelessMAN air interfaces, from 2 to 66 GHz, is supported by the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) Forum. Global acceptance of the WirelessMAN standard is also supported by decisions of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to use a subset of 802.16a as a basis for an ETSI standard.

About the IEEE 802.16 Working Group
The IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access operates via an open, accredited process to develop WirelessMAN™ air interface standards for broadband wireless metropolitan area networks, as well as related compliance and coexistence standards. Meeting bimonthly, it has completed core specifications for fixed broadband wireless access from 2 to 66 GHz and is enhancing that work to support mobile and fixed terminals from the same base station. It is a unit of the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee, the premier transnational forum for wireless networking standardization. For more information on the IEEE 802.16 Working Group, visit:

About the IEEE Standards Association
The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), a global standards-setting body, develops consensus standards through an open process that brings diverse parts of an industry together. It has a portfolio of more than 870 completed standards and more than 400 in development. IEEE-SA promotes the engineering process by creating, developing, integrating, sharing and applying knowledge about electro- and information technologies and sciences for the benefit of humanity and the profession. For further information on IEEE-SA visit:

About the IEEE
The IEEE has more than 375,000 members in approximately 150 countries. Through its members, the organization is a leading authority on areas ranging from aerospace, computers and telecommunications to biomedicine, electric power and consumer electronics. The IEEE produces nearly 30 percent of the world's literature in the electrical and electronics engineering, computing and control technology fields. This nonprofit organization also sponsors or cosponsors more than 300 technical conferences each year. Additional information about the IEEE can be found at

802.16™, 802.11™, and WirelessMAN802.16™, are trademarks of the IEEE. 802® is a registered trademark of the IEEE. All other names or product names are the trademarks, service marks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.