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wireless technology helps katrina relief

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    Wireless technology helps Katrina relief
    September 9, 2005 - 10:04AM

    A high-speed wireless networking technology that's still being tested around the world will be deployed at an evacuation shelter and other spots on the US Gulf Coast hit by Hurricane Katrina.

    The technology called WiMax will bring the internet to remote areas where the existing infrastructure has been destroyed or never existed. The network will be used for internet telephone service and information exchange.

    Intel Corp., a major WiMax supporter and maker of chips, shipped equipment to San Antonio's decommissioned Kelly Air Force Base where thousands of evacuees are being taken. The gear is expected to arrive on Friday.

    A group of wireless internet providers called Part-15.org is working with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots at the shelter and areas hit by the storm.

    But those hotspots need to connect to the wider internet to be most useful - and that's where WiMax comes into play, said Nigel Ballard, a manager in Intel's state and local government unit.

    "They were missing a very vital - and some would say expensive - piece of the jigsaw, and that's the ability to put up a wireless solution to actually get the signal in and out of a fairly substantial Air Force base," he said.

    The WiMax equipment will be able to carry signals about 24 kilometres to what's known as a Point of Presence on the internet. The bandwidth both upstream and downstream is expected to be about 45 megabits per second - 30 times the speed of a standard 1.5 megabit per second DSL connection.

    Similar efforts involving WiMax are underway in the disaster area as well, and Intel has donated equipment for use in other parts of the Gulf Coast.

    WiMax, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, has been mentioned as a possible alternative to cable modem and Digital Subscriber Line services offered by cable and telephone companies. It's also touted as a tool to connect emerging markets to the internet.

    © 2005 AAP
    Brought to you by aap
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