Data Rate -75 Mbps, Max Distance - 30 miles
A new revolution is coming down the pike: WiMAX. Why would you want WiMAX? Well, they chose the name correctly, as it's Wi-Fi "to the max". This new standard makes Wi-Fi look puny: 25x broadband speed (75Mbps), and a maximum range of a whopping 30 miles. (Your mileage may vary). It goes through walls, trees, clouds and does not need line of sight. But it isn't long distance Wi-Fi. The two standards are not compatible, so that means completely new hardware. If you want to use both you'd need a WAP that supports both. The official name of this one is 802.16 and it operates below 11GHz. You can pretty much expect a second WiMax wave starting in 2006, leading to a Billion dollar market in 2008.
Right now we have thousands of WiFi hot-spots in each major city. Imagine instead - complete coverage of the city with just a few WiMAX hot-spots !! This should be a reality within several years.
In addition, Metro Ethernet, which is the new rage sweeping the country, will work perfectly with WiMAX. This is what has a lot of major metro GigE fiber providers shaking in their boots right now.
Is this tested technology? Yes, some of the big phone companies in Europe are testing this and some wireless service providers have WiMax networks up in New York City and Montana. But it's "fixed" WiMAX to start with. Mobile will come a lot later.