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stds-802-16: letter published in _IEEE Spectrum_

You may be interested in this letter published in the "Forum" section 
of the November 1999 issue of _IEEE Spectrum_.


Broadband Access

I applaud IEEE Spectrum for its coverage of "Fixed wireless routes 
for Internet access" [September, pp. 61-69]. I expect fixed wireless 
technology to indeed play a crucial role in making broadband access 
widely available.

Surprisingly, the author overlooked the major role that the IEEE 
itself is playing in the development of this industry. The mission of 
the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access, which I 
chair, is "to develop standards and recommended practices to support 
the development and deployment of fixed broadband wireless access 
systems." This transnational group has 106 voting members and has met 
eight times since August 1998 (including several start-up meetings 
organized by the National Wireless Electronic Systems Testbed of the 
U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology).

IEEE 802.16 recently unveiled an aggressive timetable to provide a 
draft interoperable air interface specification by next autumn. A 
separate project aims to provide a Recommended Practice for system 
coexistence, without interference, by the summer of 2000. I encourage 
you to read more on the Web at http://nwest.nist.gov.

Standards are vital to the success of communications systems. The 
IEEE, through its outstandingly successful LAN/MAN 
[local/metropolitan-area network] Standards Committee (Project 802), 
has set the stage for tremendous technological innovation and rapid 
deployment of digital networks. IEEE 802.16 is building on those 
successes as it pioneers standards on which to build a broadband 
wireless access industry.

Roger B. Marks