WiMAX - What is WiMAX ?

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WiMAX is one of the hottest broadband wireless technologies around today. WiMAX systems are expected to deliver broadband access services to residential and enterprise customers in an economical way.

Loosely, WiMax is a standardized wireless version of Ethernet intended primarily as an alternative to wire technologies (such as Cable Modems, DSL and T1/E1 links) to provide broadband access to customer premises.

More strictly, WiMAX is an industry trade organization formed by leading communications, component and equipment companies to promote and certify compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless access equipment that conforms to the IEEE 802.16 and ETSI HIPERMAN standards.

WiMAX would operate similar to WiFi but at higher speeds over greater distances and for a greater number of users. WiMAX has the ability to provide service even in areas that are difficult for wired infrastructure to reach and the ability to overcome the physical limitations of traditional wired infrastructure.

WiMAX was formed in April 2001, in anticipation of the publication of the original 10-66 GHz IEEE 802.16 specifications. WiMAX is to 802.16 as the WiFi Alliance is to 802.11.

WiMAX is:

  • Acronym for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access.

  • Based on Wireless MAN technology.

  • A wireless technology optimized for the delivery of IP centric services over a wide area.

  • A scaleable wireless platform for constructing alternative and complementary broadband networks.

  • A certification that denotes interoperability of equipment built to the IEEE 802.16 or compatible standard. The IEEE 802.16 Working Group develops standards that address two types of usage models:

    • A fixed usage model (IEEE 802.16-2004).
    • A portable usage model (IEEE 802.16e).

What is 802.16a ?

WiMAX is such an easy term that people tend to use it for the 802.16 standards and technology themselves, although strictly it applies only to systems that meet specific conformance criteria laid down by the WiMAX Forum.

The 802.16a standard for 2-11 GHz is a wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) technology that will provide broadband wireless connectivity to Fixed, Portable and Nomadic devices.

It can be used to connect 802.11 hot spots to the Internet, provide campus connectivity, and provide a wireless alternative to cable and DSL for last mile broadband access.

WiMax Speed and Range:

WiMAX is expected to offer initially up to about 40 Mbps capacity per wireless channel for both fixed and portable applications, depending on the particular technical configuration chosen, enough to support hundreds of businesses with T-1 speed connectivity and thousands of residences with DSL speed connectivity. WiMAX can support voice and video as well as Internet data.

WiMax will be to provide wireless broadband access to buildings, either in competition to existing wired networks or alone in currently unserved rural or thinly populated areas. It can also be used to connect WLAN hotspots to the Internet. WiMAX is also intended to provide broadband connectivity to mobile devices. It would not be as fast as in these fixed applications, but expectations are for about 15 Mbps capacity in a 3 km cell coverage area.

With WiMAX users could really cut free from today's Internet access arrangements and be able to go online at broadband speeds, almost wherever they like from within a MetroZone.

WiMAX could potentially be deployed in a variety of spectrum bands: 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz, 3.5GHz, and 5.8GHz

Why WiMax ?

  • WiMAX can satisfy a variety of access needs. Potential applications include extending broadband capabilities to bring them closer to subscribers, filling gaps in cable, DSL and T1 services, WiFi and cellular backhaul, providing last-100 meter access from fibre to the curb and giving service providers another cost-effective option for supporting broadband services.

  • WiMAX can support very high bandwidth solutions where large spectrum deployments (i.e. >10 MHz) are desired using existing infrastructure keeping costs down while delivering the bandwidth needed to support a full range of high-value multimedia services.

  • WiMAX can help service providers meet many of the challenges they face due to increasing customer demands without discarding their existing infrastructure investments because it has the ability to seamlessly interoperate across various network types.

  • WiMAX can provide wide area coverage and quality of service capabilities for applications ranging from real-time delay-sensitive voice-over-IP (VoIP) to real-time streaming video and non-real-time downloads, ensuring that subscribers obtain the performance they expect for all types of communications.

  • WiMAX, which is an IP-based wireless broadband technology, can be integrated into both wide-area third-generation (3G) mobile and wireless and wireline networks allowing it to become part of a seamless anytime, anywhere broadband access solution.

Ultimately, WiMAX is intended to serve as the next step in the evolution of 3G mobile phones, via a potential combination of WiMAX and CDMA standards called 4G.

WiMAX Goals:

A standard by itself is not enough to enable mass adoption. WiMAX has stepped forward to help solve barriers to adoption, such as interoperability and cost of deployment. WiMAX will help ignite the wireless MAN industry by defining and conducting interoperability testing and labeling vendor systems with a "WiMAX Certified™" label once testing has been completed successfully.



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