Narrowband Wireless Local-Loop Systems
Naturally, the first application for which a wireless alternative was developed and deployed was voice telephony. These systems, called wireless local-loop (WLL), were quite successful in developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia, whose high demand for basic telephone services could not be served using existing infrastructure.
In fact, WLL systems based on the digital-enhanced cordless telephony (DECT) and code division multiple access (CDMA) standards continue to be deployed in these markets.
During the same time, several small start-up companies focused solely on providing
Internet- access services using wireless.
These wireless Internet service provider (WISP) companies typically deployed systems in the license-exempt 900MHz and 2.4GHz bands. Most of these systems required antennas to be installed at the customer premises, either on rooftops or under the eaves of their buildings.
Deployments were limited mostly to select neighborhoods and small towns.
These early systems typically offered speeds up to a few hundred kilobits per second. Later evolutions of license-exempt systems were able to provide higher speeds.