Wireless bandwidth may be on the rise, but fixed wireless networks run faster because they don't have to track down mobile receivers. There are many fixed solutions available-from low-cost, low-bandwidth CDMA systems providing phone network alternatives to high-frequency (38GHz) Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS).
Companies such as WinStar and Teligent are selling LMDS to businesses to compete with T1 (1.5Mbps) and T3 (45Mbps) service. A third level of service running at about 2.5GHz, called Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS), may emerge as the most potent competitor to cable-modem and DSL networks.
In March, MCI Worldcom started trials of its fixed wireless "Warp" technology. Since its merger with Sprint, Worldcom figures it can offer commercial fixed wireless service in 100 U.S. cities by late 2001. Prices for Warp service start at $39.95 per month (for 310Kbps).
Eric Brown, a regular contributor to pcworld.com, is a writer living in the Boston area.