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run, do not walk, to the Wireless World board here at TMF and get lots of your questions answered. Also Look at FrozenCanuck's Fiberhead Board and Trenchrats Broadband Bandwagon. But I've summarised a lot of what you want below (long...).

One of the problems with Fixed Wirelss Access (FWA) whihc has meant that it has tended to not take off well is that for high enough bandwidths (10s of Megabits) typically either distance limits step in, or atmospheric conditions break things or Line of Sight becomes critical or about 5001 other things stop this being quite as straightforward as we would like it to be. One of the big advantages about fibers is that they really can take gigabits if not terabits of information and ensure that they get delivered to the right place without any interference or data loss.

Here is a rough list of who does what where in the broadband arena - whether wireless or fixed access.

In the core of any BB network you have fiber and Optical equipment. Fiber is made by Lucent, Corning and ALcatel. Optical Componants are made by a bunch of small companies as well as SDL, JDS Uniphase, Lucent and Nortel Networks. These Optical componants are made into systems by Nortel Networks, Lucent, Cisco (just starting to get into this field), Tellabs, Ciena, Alcatel, some japanese companies and a host of startups such as Sycamore and Redback (also just starting). In order to put some information down the optical systems you need some data or voice equipment that you plug into them. The big Voice companies are Nortel and Lucent but this is not very exciting. The big data companies are Cisco, Juniper, Nortel and Lucent. There are of course a whole host of startups and indeed Juniper might be considered one of them.

Out at the edge of a wireless network you have much the same set of players (Cisco, Nortel, Lucent) as well as the scandinavian cell-phone duo of Nokia and Ericsson. Motorola is a player here to but seems to me to being killed by the rest.

Qualcomm makes some of the chips for cellular equipment. RF Micro Devices and Connexant make others. Texas Instruments and ARM show up all over the place round here as basic componants for lots of the cellulalr phone sin the world and other similar devices.

Out at the edge of a non-wireless network you have Cable Modems and CM head ends made by Arris/Nortel, Motorola, 3com, Terayon and a whole host of others (I know I've forgotten some biggies) or DSL equipment made by Alcatel, Copper Mountain, Paradyne, Cisco, Nortel, etc etc (again I know I've forgotten some biggies).

In order to control your end users to make sure they pay for their access and that it is secure etc. You need a subscriber management system, which is made at present by only Nortel and Redback.

You may also need to have some web servers (probably SUN serevrs) with lots of access to disks (EMC) possibly in combination with Network Appliance stuff. You may wish to cache your web traffic in which case you use Akamai and Cacheflow boxes and balance access to your servers using equipment from (Nortel, Cisco, Foundry, Alteon, F5..) and your server farm may be running on LAN equipment made by Cisco, Nortel, 3com or possibly Cabletron or Extreme. You may want firewalls (Checkpoint, as well as Cisco, Nortel etc.). Componant manufacturers for some of this lot are Intel, Broadcom, TI, Connexant and Lucent.

The people to whom a lot of this manufacturing is outsourced are Solecton, Jabil and some others.

All this stuff is put into networks by all the big telcos and cable companies that you know and love as well as Qwest, Global Crossing, Level 3, Metro Fiber Networks, Rhythms, Covad and Northpoint in the US. In Europe Cable is mostly UPC. DSL isn't yet and other people doing interesting things are NTL COLT and Energis in the UK, Utfors and B2 in sweden and Vivendi in France. Big and interesting cellular providers are Vodaphone, NTT Docomo, Sonera and Sprint PCS.

That should keep you researching for some time.

Happy Easter

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