Last mile communications have been the most talked about feature over the past decade, as it really had a very thin line separating the consumers from the technology. That is the reason why last mile communications to home and most business establishments did not employ optical fibers due to cost implications. The best alternative was copper wires, which the DSL and cable internet communication technologies favored a lot. DSL and cable modem technologies still rule the roost in many developed and developing countries, while the developed countries are slowly moving towards having an ubiquitous network infrastructure facilitated by wireless LAN technologies.
Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access, fondly called as WiMax, is gaining momentum as this technology has the potential to replace DSL and cable modem infrastructure. The most fascinating aspect of WiMax is the coverage and the data-rate it offers, rivaling most DSL and cable technologies.
WiMax will primarily form a part of the backhaul network, while the wireless mesh technology would provide a resilient, pervasive and self-healing network, which is ultimately cheap and easily accessible. The unique selling point is that broadband internet would reach a far greater mass than was previously possible with wired solutions. Developing countries like India and China are likely to embrace WiMax to a greater extent than developed countries. Most of the rural areas in these countries are poorly connected due to lack of proper telephone line infrastructure and optical fiber cabling for high-speed data connectivity. WiMax has evolved from its initial stages to the present IEEE 802.16e mobile version, enabling a whole new world of being connected at high-speeds.
Wireless mesh networks technology has no single point of failure, and as mentioned above, with their resilience networks become more robust. There arises a plethora of applications right from the most sought after voice over wi-fi (VoWi-Fi) and video streaming to high-priority video surveillance applications. Moreover, there is a drastic reduction in technology development costs as the predominant wireless Ethernet adapters are used for connectivity. The new IEEE 802.11s standard for mesh networks would be ratified in 2008, and would solve issues relating to interoperability and latency.
Many vendors like Strix systems, BelAir Networks, RoamAd and a lot more have developed their wireless mesh products to be compatible with WiMax. This is a good indication that the future wireless connectivity would fairly depend on WiMax. Some of the vendors have also integrated the existing GSM technologies on to their mesh boxes, making it future-proof – an innovative way of converging wi-fi and cellular networks.
Hence, with the successful marriage between WiMax and Wireless Mesh Networks, the telecommunications industry sees a major leap forward to accomplish IMS. Keep your fingers crossed for a new revolution!