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Bob Miller here at AT&T caught this article titled 802 (dot) whatever works. Interestingly, the author omitted 802.15 from our wireless activities. Doubt there is any inference there.
The Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers never had it so good. The intrinsic need for engineers to attach esoteric coda to everything they do has never penetrated the public sphere of consciousness as fully as it has with the emergence of the IEEE's 802.11, 802.16 and 802.20 wireless networking standards.
Media types love the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard for all of the cutesy alphabet soup connotations we can make about its letter-differentiated subsets. References even have seeped into the consumer media — though Intel's ubiquitous Centrino ad campaign may eventually brainwash the public into substituting one company's brand name for an entire industry's standard.
Meanwhile, 802.16 — the standard governing high-data-rate wireless technologies in linear metropolitan area network deployments — is gaining momentum as a solution for broadening wireless LANs and mobile network backhaul, as well as an extension of wireline broadband methods. Also on the move (literally) is 802.20, a standard-in-the-making for maintaining high-bandwidth connections to users moving at speeds up to 60 mph. Just as 802.16 can broaden the use of wireless in a large metro region, 802.20 can advance the possibilities for truly reliable data service to users mobbing within that region by train, car or bus.
Despite public statements to the contrary, some 802.16 supporters reportedly aren't very interested in working with 802.11 technologies because they see a conflict. Meanwhile, some companies that support 802.20 believe 802.16 conflicts with their efforts. And a few folks in the 802.11 realm have little interest in either.
They're forgetting that they are all part of the same camp. In working together they will undoubtedly find some overlap in the applications they support, but they will also discover an ability to build metro-sized wireless universes that can rival and maybe supplant wireline technology, all the while maintaining the strengths that make them distinct solutions for distinct applications.
Ultimately, there will be an 802 solution for every application. And working cooperatively, companies with 802.16, 802.11 or 802.20 products will find they have every application covered.