Q: Can we use WiMax technology as a backbone (say to replace fibre optics) with the same efficiency as fibre? We want to connect equipment between cities. Can we use WiMax and have sufficient bandwidth?
- Faisal B.

The Wizards gaze into their crystal ball and respond:

Bob Friday, Airespace
WiMax is a wireless technology that can provide up to 70 Mbit/s of throughput over several miles in the unlicenced or licenced bands. While there are vendors with early pre-standard implementations available, the industry is looking towards the end of 2005 for the general availability of Wi-Max radios based on the first generation of WiMax silicon.

So if your bandwidth requirements are on the order of 50 Mbit/s. and the distance between the two points you are trying to connect are on the order of 10 miles, WiMax may be a good solution [In more than a year's time - Editor].

In general, no wireless technology - including WiMax - will provide the same bandwidth or reliability available over a fibre cable. But then again, you do not need to dig a trench to get your WiMax link up and running.

Inderpreet Singh, Chantry Networks
The answer to that question depends on your bandwidth requirements. As is currently being defined in the IEEE, the WiMax Forum is focusing on the 802.16a protocol. That version allows for a max of 100 Mbit/s per 20 MHz channel with a transmission range of a maximum of 30 miles. Although the performance of fibre may be more than what WiMax may provide, the ability to deploy and provision across urban areas and into rural areas is its biggest advantage.