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Solutions: Infrastructure - Educational Wi-Max

Deploy Educational WiMAX

GOAL: Extend school district’s intranet-based content and ensure equal access to home Internet.

DESCRIPTION: Deploy WiMAX to the community and provide students with WiMAX-enabled laptops to ensure equal access for all students regardless of socioeconomic status.  WiMAX is primarily a wireless and highly cost- effective means of extending the school district’s Intranet-based content and applications to the student body beyond the school campus and outside of school hours equating to anytime, anywhere instruction.

WiMAX is an IP-based, wireless broadband access technology that provides performance similar to Wi-Fi networks, but with the coverage and service quality of cellular networks.  WiMAX can provide broadband wireless access (BWA) up to 30 miles (50 km) for fixed stations, and 3-10 miles (5-15 km) for mobile stations.

WiMAX can be cheaper than DSL, cable, fiber-to-the-home, and 3G or 4G wireless. This low cost per home brings possibilities for a school district to build its own private access network independent of commercial operators.

Educational material can be made available after school hours so that digital content is not restricted to school or library computer labs for students who cannot afford laptops or home access.


Develop partnership with area providers, technology and education organizations, local government, and school district. The project team should be prepared to provide research, project design, data collection services, data analysis and reporting, and presentation development and delivery.

Assess infrastructure needs.

Contact local or national WiMAX service and equipment providers. Developing a WiMAX network should be done in partnership with providers, technology organizations, and local government.

Community-wide WiMAX networks require significant infrastructure, including: towers (number and placement determined by a site survey conducted by the installation company); antennas; WiMAX transmitters and receivers; management server; Internet backhaul; and power. A one-to-one laptop and WiMAX program would include network and hardware maintenance costs. WiMAX infrastructure is a capital expense that can be amortized over many years. The typical infrastructure costs $5-20 per student per month, over a five-year period, depending on factors such as population density, terrain, and the size of the area to be covered.


School district and school leaders: superintendent, principal, director of technology, IT department, curriculum directors/specialists, librarians, student science club members; School Board members, technology committee members; Citizens, city and county leaders, business leaders and broadband providers


FAQ's on E-Rate Programs for Schools and Libraries:

Understanding WiMAX Technology Standards: