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Wide area Wi-Fi

One of my clients is looking into building a wide area Wi-Fi network that will need to cover major metropolitan areas and corridors within several counties for a mobile application. What vendor/manufacturer can provide the largest coverage footprint?
The Wi-Fi ( 802.11) standard is really designed to support local area networks, using radios that typically cover a few hundred feet. WiMAX standards ( 802.16a and eventually 802.20) are designed to support metropolitan area networks, using radios that can reach up to 30 miles.

Wi-Fi is great for creating hotspots that connect stations to nearby APs, while WiMAX will be better for connecting stations or networks to Internet service providers in the same city (i.e., replacing last mile links like DSL). Given this, your client may want to look into the new WiMAX products that should become available in 2H04. To learn more about WiMAX, see the WiMAX Forum's FAQs.

That said, there are several metropolitan area wireless networks now being developed by blanketing parts of cities (hotzones) with a large set of 802.11 APs. Some metro-Wi-Fi examples include Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, and Palo Alto, California. Vendors that sell products specifically intended for this emerging hotzone market include BelAir Networks, Tropos, and Vivato, to name just a few.

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