802.16a is a wireless communications specification for metropolitan area networks (MANs). It was approved in January 2003 and released in April 2003 as part of a set of standards known as 802.16 or WiMax. The 802.16 standards complement the older 802.11 (WiFi) family of specifications.
The 802.16a standard was developed for wireless MANs operating on licensed and unlicensed radio-frequency (RF) bands between 2 GHz and 11 GHz, at data speeds of up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps), with low latency and efficient use of spectrum space. Security is enhanced by encryption features. Forward error correction (FEC) and space/time coding optimize accuracy under marginal signal conditions. The maximum range can be extended to approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) with some sacrifice in throughput. The 802.16a specification is ideally suited for advanced communications methods such as voice over IP (VoIP) and prioritized data traffic.