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BuzzCut: Fixed Wireless Pays Off

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Assuming the district needs all that bandwidth, that's a healthy ROI. But it's still a lot of money. One reason is a lack of standards-based implementations--but that's about to change. The IEEE 802.16 standard is finding its way into real products, and the WiMAX Forum has been created to certify 802.16 interoperability and promote the standard.

Before you make the leap, though, consider the business issues facing WiMAX. Fixed wireless may blossom into a healthy global solution, but the market is too small to drive true economies of scale. Over the long haul, 802.16 and WiMAX must move beyond fixed wireless into mobile wireless broadband. The 802.16e committee is working on it, and major players, including Intel, may one day embed WiMAX in their notebook systems. If that happens, call your broker.