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IEEE Gives Official Approval to New WiMAX2 Wireless Networking Standard

Posted: 02nd Apr, 2011 By: MarkJ
samsung intel wimax2The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and its IEEE 802.16 Working Group on broadband wireless access standards have finally approved the latest WiMAX2 / WirelessMAN-Advanced (802.16m - Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) standard for high-speed wide area wireless networking.

Presently there are two forms of WiMAX - "Fixed WiMAX" (802.16d) for faster Wi-Fi style ISP networks and "Mobile WiMAX" (802.16e) for use as a 3G / HSPA replacement by mobile phone operators. Neither have seen any huge uptake in the UK, largely due to a stronger EU focus on rival Long Term Evolution ( LTE ) technology.

By contrast 802.16m is seen as a backwards compatible update to 802.16e and one that should be able to deliver download speeds of between 300Mbps and 1Gbps. This also makes WiMAX2 compatible with the global 4G (IMT-Advanced) standard for next generation Mobile Broadband services. The rival LTE-Advanced technology is also considered a 4G standard and can achieve similar speeds, while LTE and WiMAX are still 3G (detailed explanation).

However, WIMAX2 claims to improve upon WiMAX by offering more efficient, faster and more converged data communications. In reality, while it might meet the technical specifications for a 4G service, WiMAX2 is more likely to start out by supporting download speeds of up to 120Mbps and uploads of 60Mbps. Customer speeds will be far lower than that. The same can also be said of LTE and LTE-Advanced.

The original aim was to have WiMAX2 approved by November last year, although that target has clearly been missed by a good 4 or 5 months. However, both Intel and Samsung, WiMAX2's biggest supporters, would still like to see commercial solutions being deployed by the end of this year. We think 2012 is more likely.
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