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Wireless Broadband Networks

Frequency Band & Licensing Requirements For Broadband

Wireless broadband networks are being deployed in a number of frequency bands from the low end 800 MHz ISM band to 38 GHz Wide band. Previous generation of LAN bridging equipment employed lower frequency band (800- 912 MHz ISM band). The new generation of broadband network technology utilizes 24-38 GHz band.  More recently, vendors are also developing the last mile wireless access solutions in the 2.4-2.6 GHz band.  The advantage in going up the frequency band is the ability to use higher bandwidth and therefore achieving higher network speed and capacity in voice terms, it means more channels and more subscribers.

In the United States, a license-free spectrum exists through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), established to increase competition and experimentation in the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz range.

Distance Limitations on Wireless Broadband
Distances vary with frequency band, technology and vendor implementation. One factor that users must keep in mind that performance or throughput may become lower with distance because of signal strength after certain distance may not be sustainable at higher speeds. Therefore, some vendors offer lower speeds at greater distances.

Speeds in wireless broadband (mid-2000 circa) can go from sub one megabit (< 1 Mbps) to 45 Mbps range.

The following table gives some idea of frequency, speed and distance relationship:

Type of Broadband Technology Frequency Distance Range of Data Speed**
MMDS 2.1 to 2.7 GHz 30 to 35 miles 10 Mbps
International WLL 3.2-3.7 GHz 25 miles 10-11 Mbps

902-928 MHz

5 to 25 miles

5-7 Mbps
LMDS 24 to 38 GHz 3 to 5 miles Up to 45 Mbps

Note: Wireless Data speed is a function of bandwidth, the frequency band employed, modulation technology used, # of channels dedicated, clear line of sight and signal strength, and other factors. These numbers are purely for general guidance.  

In contrast, DSL and related technologies utilizing the existing copper infrastructure transfer rates vary from 2.32 MB/second at 3.5 km to 208 kb/second at 7.0 km. It should be pointed out that higher speed DSL offerings are also becoming available. But these technologies do not address wireless and mobility needs of users and Internet applications.


More Information on Broadband Networks

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