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Frequently Asked Questions

What is WiMAX technology?
What are the advantages of WiMAX?
What are the WiMAX applications?
What are the key elements of WiMAX technology?
What is the purpose of the WiMAX Forum?
What companies are involved with the WiMAX Forum?
What is WiMAX Forum Certified?
What are the benefits of WiMAX Forum Certified products?
What is involved in WiMAX Forum Certification testing?
What are the benefits of WiMAX Forum Certified products for vendors, operators and subscribers?
How will WiMAX Forum Certified products benefit enterprises and residential users?
What companies offer products that have received the WiMAX Forum Certified™ designation?
Where are the WiMAX Forum Certification labs located?
What is the data transfer speed of WiMAX technology for end users?
What frequencies does WiMAX technology operate on?
What is the WiMAX Forum doing to allow for roaming among compatible networks?
What is the WiMAX Forum’s position on IPR and WiMAX technology?
What is orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM)?
What are IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced and its current relationship with WiMAX technologies?
What is WIMAX Release 2 and when it will be available?
What is WiMAX Advanced?
Does an operator need to purchase new infrastructure to support WiMAX Advanced?
Why is the WiMAX Forum supporting other Radio Access Technologies within WiMAX Advanced?
Is WiMAX Advanced an overall capitulation and exit of the market by WiMAX in favor of other technologies?
How will WiMAX operators use WiMAX Advanced technology?
Will the WiMAX Forum implement a device certification regime for WiMAX Advanced?
Which technologies does WiMAX Advanced plan to support?
When will WiMAX Release 2.0 Certification be ready?
How does WiMAX Advanced enhance a Multi-Mode network strategy?
What is WiGRID?
What is AeroMACS?

 

What is WiMAX technology?
WiMAX™ is based upon the IEEE 802.16 standard enabling the delivery of wireless broadband services anytime, anywhere. WiMAX products can accommodate fixed and mobile usage models. The IEEE 802.16 standard was developed to deliver non-line-of-sight (LoS) connectivity between a subscriber station and base station with typical cell radius of three to ten kilometers. All base stations and subscriber stations claiming to be WiMAX compliant must go through a rigorous WiMAX Forum Certified™ testing process.

The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. WiMAX Forum certification allows vendors to sell fixed or mobile products as WiMAX certified, thus ensuring a level of interoperability with other certified products, as long as they fit the same profile.

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What are the advantages of WiMAX?
There are a number of advantages on use WiMAX; moreover the most important is the combination of low cost and flexibility. WiMAX broadband networks can be quickly built at relatively low cost by installing few wireless base stations providing coverage to the surrounding area with multifunctional application: high-speed Internet, telephone service, voice and data transfer, and video applications.

WiMAX enables high-speed voice and data transfer over long distances in remote and scarcely populated areas, as well as in densely populated areas. The wireless connectivity is not affected by the weather conditions and does not need direct line in order to work; it allows real access to end users through its own infrastructure.

WiMAX products benefit service providers using their existing infrastructure investments as WiMAX has the ability to interoperate across various network types. It can leverage existing infrastructure, keeping costs down while delivering the bandwidth needed to support current system. WiMAX offers potential for development, new applications and opportunities.

WiMAX is the technology of choice to offer both fixed and mobile applications.

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What are the WiMAX applications?
The maturing of the WiMAX technology has made possible a number of new applications beyond data communications. The bandwidth and range makes WiMAX suitable for the following applications:

  • Mobile broadband connectivity across cities and countries through a wide variety of devices.
  • Fixed wireless broadband
  • Wireless alternative to cable and digital subscriber line (DSL) for broadband access
  • Data, telecommunications (VoIP) and IPTV services
  • Internet connectivity
  • Smart Grid and metering
  • Smart Cities
  • Public Safety
  • Aviation
  • Oil & Gas

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What are the key elements of WiMAX technology?
A key differentiator for WiMAX is the interoperability of WiMAX Forum Certified equipment, resulting in mass volume economy of scale and assurance for service providers that when buying equipment from more than one company, the technologies are interoperable. The WiMAX Forum has assembled an alliance of leaders in the communications and computing industries to drive a common platform for the global deployment of IP-based broadband wireless services. Other key elements include cost, coverage, capacity and standards for all wireless usage models.

  • Standard for all usage models (fixed to mobile): By leveraging the same technology networks, WiMAX technology will become the most cost-effective solution for carriers to deploy for any usage model including fixed, portable, nomadic and mobile.
  • Wider coverage: The technology behind WiMAX is optimized to provide excellent non-line-of-sight (NLoS) coverage. NLoS advantages are coverage of wider areas, better predictability of coverage and lower cost as it means fewer base stations and backhaul, simple RF planning, shorter towers and faster CPE install times.
  • Higher capacity: WiMAX technology utilizes Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) over EDGE, GPRS, HSPA to deliver higher bandwidth efficiency and therefore higher data throughput, with more than one Mbps downstream and higher data rates. Adaptive modulation also increases link reliability for carrier-class operation and the possibility to keep higher order modulation at wider distance extend full capacity over longer distances.
  • Lower cost: A standards based platform for WiMAX technology drives down costs delivering volume economics to WiMAX equipment.

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What is the purpose of the WiMAX Forum?
Founded in June 2001, the WiMAX Forum is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization formed to certify and promote WiMAX products based upon the harmonized IEEE 802.16/ETSI HiperMAN standard. Focused on global adoption of WiMAX, the WiMAX Forum was chartered to establish certification processes that achieve interoperability, publish technical specifications based on recognized standards, promote the technology and pursue a favorable regulatory environment.

Additional WiMAX Forum services include:

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What companies are involved with the WiMAX Forum?
The WiMAX Forum membership represents the entire ecosystem of companies necessary for bringing WiMAX Forum Certified products to market, including equipment manufacturers, operators, system integrators, silicon and component makers, test equipment manufacturers, test labs, content and application providers. For a full list of member companies, visit http://www.wimaxforum.org/Company/directory.

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What is WiMAX Forum Certified?
Certified products are based upon a single global standard (802.16) enabling complete interoperability worldwide. WiMAX Forum Certified products have been through rigorous certification testing in order to reduce investment uncertainties and guarantee interoperability for all parties in the access network value chain, from technology providers to service providers tend users.

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What are the benefits of WiMAX Forum Certified products?
Designed for carrier-class deployments WiMAX Forum Certified systems deliver high-capacity service throughput (up t36 Mbps in a 10MHz channel) and provide a range of up to five kilometers in non-line-of-sight conditions. The systems are scalable for up to thousands of users and because they are interoperable, service providers will be able to purchase equipment from more than one vendor, thereby reducing the overall risk for the operator and creating a price-competitive marketplace.

The availability of WiMAX Forum Certified equipment will accelerate the adoption rate of WiMAX technology by promoting the continued introduction into the market of a broad selection of interoperable devices from many vendors at affordable prices ensuring consumers interoperability between devices and networks guaranteeing service anytime, anywhere at a lower price point.

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What is involved in WiMAX Forum Certification testing?
To meet the minimum mandatory requirements for WiMAX Forum Certification, products have to pass multiple tests. These tests are defined under the auspices of the WiMAX Forum Certification Working Group (CWG). Vendors submit products for certification to approved WiMAX Forum Designated Certification Laboratories (WFDCL). If all tests are not passed, vendors have the opportunity to make updates to their products and resubmit for final approval. For more information on the certification process, please read the WiMAX Forum’s Certification overview http://www.wimaxforum.org/Page/certification.

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What are the benefits of WiMAX Forum Certified products for vendors, operators and subscribers?

  • Vendors: Products are interoperable prior to commercialization, reducing vendor costs and effort. Vendors can easily meet operator requirements for interoperability, and address the global market with their product line. Certified equipment leads to integrated, low cost components. Additionally, vendors can focus on specific products rather than end-to-end product lines. Products are interoperable prior to commercialization, reducing vendor costs and effort. Vendors can easily meet operator requirements for interoperability, and address the global market with their product line. Certified equipment leads to integrated, low cost components. Additionally, vendors can focus on specific products rather than end-to-end product lines.
  • Operators: With WiMAX Forum certified products, operators can more easily support subscriber devices, including out of network roaming devices. Choice among vendors leads to more flexibility when planning infrastructure and selecting subscriber devices and contained equipment costs make WiMAX business case more attractive. For operators, backwards compatibility and new features allow operators to combine continuity of service with advanced performance.
  • Subscribers: The WiMAX Forum Certified Seal gives consumers the confidence that products will work out of the box. Subscribers can use a variety of devices depending on location and desired application and large vendor selection means more devices at contained costs.

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How will WiMAX Forum Certified products benefit enterprises and residential users?

  • Enterprises: The ease of deployment for WiMAX Forum Certified systems can benefit enterprises by bringing new competition into the marketplace and lowering prices, as well as reaching out to locations not served by wireline Internet access. This is especially relevant for industries like gas, mining, agriculture, transportation, construction and others that operate in remote locations.
  • Residential users: For residential customers in suburban and rural areas (where DSL or cable modem service is not available), WiMAX technology can provide the ability to finally have the broadband access they need. This is particularly true in developing countries, where traditional telecom infrastructure is not readily accessible.

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What companies offer products that have received the WiMAX Forum Certified™ designation?
For more details on WiMAX Forum certified products and companies please visit the WiMAX Forum’s product showcase at http://registry.wimaxforum.org/certification/certified-product-showcase.

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Where are the WiMAX Forum Certification labs located?
Globally there are three certification labs in operation. They are located in:

  • North America (Vancouver, BC) - Powertech Labs
  • China (Beijing) - China Academy of Telecommunications Research
  • Korea (Seongnam-City) - Telecommunications Technology Association
  • Taiwan (Taoyuan) - Bureau Veritas ADT

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What is the data transfer speed of WiMAX technology for end users?
Users can expect to have broadband access speeds ranging from 1-5 Mbps depending on the service provider offering. Plus, there is a range difference because it depends on a number of factors, including which frequency is being used, distance of the user from the base station or node, whether there is line of site or NLoS to the base station, whether MIMO is enabled or not, and the number of users on the network.

When the WiMAX Forum refers to 40 Mbps, it is referring to single channel in wireless frequency (as part of the network) that is likely shared among multiple users. Individual users will have access to that amount of capacity, but the likelihood is they will have the ability to achieve downlink speeds of 1-5 Mbps, which is similar to the cable experience. There is the potential to burst to higher speeds, but that would depend on the operator's plans and business model.

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What frequencies does WiMAX technology operate on?
The WiMAX Forum currently supports continued rapid WiMAX user adoption in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, and 3.5 GHz frequency bands, with additional spectrum bands to come. The WiMAX Forum is working with operators and equipment manufacturers to expand the frequency allocation to cover all the key spectrum bands that our member companies identify as interesting to potential WiMAX service providers such as 700 MHz and 1.8 GHz. For mobile applications, initial profiles have been developed for 2.3, 2.5, and 3.5 GHz. These are to address the current market demands by operators.

The WiMAX Forum has the ability to respond rapidly to development of additional profiles as additional spectrum is auctioned or markets change.

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What is the WiMAX Forum doing to allow for roaming among compatible networks?
The WiMAX Forum has a Global Roaming Program that allows operators and vendors to easily obtain the information required to establish WiMAX roaming services. The program is live and can be accessed through a link on the WiMAX Forum public web site at www.wimaxroaming.org.

Roaming capabilities are vital for mobility as roaming allows subscribers to access WiMAX and other services while traveling outside their home network geographical coverage area. The WIMAX Forum Global Roaming program includes several documents for WiMAX Forum member companies implementing roaming services, including technical specifications, a test plan, a roaming contract template and a guide to follow when implementing roaming.

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What is the WiMAX Forum’s position on IPR and WiMAX technology?
The IPR approach initiated by the WiMAX Forum provides for a reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing model. The WiMAX Forum has an IPR policy that is published and widely supported by the industry today. It is publicly posted on the WiMAX Forum website at: http://www.wimaxforum.org/Page/Resources/Governing-Documents

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What is orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM)?
OFDM is a digital encoding and modulation technology. It has been used successfully in wireline access applications, such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modems and cable modems as well as WiFi. Products from WiMAX Forum member companies are using OFDM-based 802.16 systems to overcome the challenges of NLoS propagation. OFDM achieves high data rate and efficiency by using multiple overlapping carrier signals instead of just one. All future technologies for 4G will be based upon OFDM technology.

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is enhanced OFDM and used in Mobile WiMAX technology and the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard, and it is the foundation for the next-generations of mobile broadband to come. It is a multi-user version of Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM). The difference between the two technologies is that OFDMA assigns subsets of sub-carriers to individual users allowing simultaneous low data rate transmission from several users.

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What are IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced and its current relationship with WiMAX technologies?
In 1999, the International Telecommunications Union – Radio communications (ITU-R) defined a set of standards called IMT-2000, commonly known as 3G technologies. The IMT-2000 provides a framework for worldwide wireless access by linking the diverse systems of terrestrial and satellite based networks.

The IEEE submitted a formal proposal to the ITU-R to make a subset of the 802.16 (WiMAX) standards a member of the IMT-2000 family, as defined by ITU-R recommendations. The WiMAX Forum provided substantial supporting material in order to make WiMAX a member of the IMT-2000 family. The WiMAX Forum was instrumental in the development of the supporting material necessary to include WiMAX in the IMT-2000 family.

Following a detailed evaluation against stringent technical and operational criteria in early 2012, ITU determined that WiMAX Advanced, ("WirelessMAN-Advanced") should be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced.

IMT-Advanced systems include new capabilities that go beyond IMT-2000, widely deployed since 2000 and referred to as 3G mobile technologies. ITU has now specified the standards for IMT-Advanced, the next-generation global wireless broadband communications that provide access to a wide range of packet-based telecommunication services supported by mobile and fixed networks.

IMT-Advanced systems support low to high mobility applications and a wide range of data rates in accordance with user and service demands in multiple user environments. IMT-Advanced also has capabilities for high quality multimedia applications within a wide range of services and platforms, providing a significant improvement in performance and quality of service.

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What is WIMAX Release 2 and when it will be available?
The WiMAX Forum has initiated the WiMAX Release 2 program for selected Operators. WiMAX Advanced includes features that increase system capacity, improve security, provide additional Quality of Service (QoS) support, improve mobile device battery life and load shedding among base stations.

Increased system capacity is achieve by enabling 64 QAM in the Up-Link coupled with support for up to a 20 MHz channel and higher transmit power at the Base Station. Another feature that improves spectrum usage and efficiency that leads to increased system capacity is load shedding.

WiMAX Release 2 provides support for Security System 2 following industry trends for better client protection and their data and location privacy. There are more levels of QoS for better on-line gaming, IP-TV, Video calling among others. To increase battery life, WiMAX Release 2 enables mobile device initiated sleep-mode to improve standby and talk times.

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What is WiMAX Advanced?
WiMAX Advanced is the WiMAX Forum’s effort to create more streamlined interworking between WiMAX and other radio access technologies in order to allow WiMAX operators to more easily pursue multi-technology network strategies. To learn more about WiMAX Advanced, please visit: http://www.wimaxforum.org/Page/Initiatives/wimax-advanced.

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Does an operator need to purchase new infrastructure to support WiMAX Advanced?
Most WiMAX vendors already sell base stations that can support multi radio technologies by upgrading the software and possibly the firmware. Most vendors also have a multi-carrier capability – the ability to run two radio interfaces simultaneously. The combination of these features gives operators support for WiMAX Advanced.

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Why is the WiMAX Forum supporting other Radio Access Technologies within WiMAX Advanced?
The WiMAX Forum recognizes that as the WiMAX industry continues to evolve an open roadmap is needed to further accommodate harmonization and coexistence with other technologies. The WiMAX Forum® understands that to cope with the ever increasing demand for broadband data, operators are and will continue to embrace network strategies that involve multiple radio access technologies. The WiMAX Forum® is continuing on this path by making sure that the operators who have chosen WiMAX will be open to the broader 4G ecosystem. Our core WiMAX operator community currently serves a customer base of over 30 million subscribers. The WiMAX Forum’s membership needs to have the technical ability to accommodate as many ecosystems as possible within a WiMAX network. This announcement will support WiMAX operators with a flexible roadmap to address the ever-changing market dynamics.

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Is WiMAX Advanced an overall capitulation and exit of the market by WiMAX in favor of other technologies?
There are currently a host of WiMAX network operators with applications and services that meet their customers’ and vertical industries’ needs that would not move to another Radio Access Technology. WiMAX operators currently enjoy a mature, cost-effective wireless broadband solution free of the legacy architecture and IPR of the current cellular markets. WiGRID, the WiMAX Forum’s solution for Smart Grid and industrial markets, is an excellent example. It is backwards compatible with Mobile WiMAX, and is designed to support uplink-centric and symmetric applications. It is intended to be used as a wide-area networking tool, complementary to cellular M2M, which leverages the global WiMAX ecosystem’s mature equipment and silicon. AeroMACS is another unique WiMAX technology application that is developed to support Airport Surface Communications, and has been selected by the United States FAA, as well as EUROCONTROL in Europe. There are many successful WiMAX operators operating in the 2.3/2.5/3.5 GHz frequencies that are running very successful mobile broadband services and are currently serving over 30 million subscribers globally.

Like many other existing mobile wireless network operators that are running multi radio access technologies (GSM, WCDMA, & LTE) within multi-frequencies, the existing WiMAX operators too will be able to operate multiple radio access technologies in order to address the needs of their customers.

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How will WiMAX operators use WiMAX Advanced technology?
WiMAX Advanced, Release 2.1, allows WiMAX operators to integrate another radio access technology onto their existing WiMAX network, while Release 2.2 and beyond will enable other features such as Link Aggregation and Load Balancing. WiMAX operators will utilize WiMAX Advanced based on their strategic vision, specific business model, regulatory circumstances, and other needs.

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Will the WiMAX Forum implement a device certification regime for WiMAX Advanced?
The WiMAX Forum is an operator-led and member driven organization. The WiMAX Forum will implement such program if and only if it becomes a requirement from its members.

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Which technologies does WiMAX Advanced plan to support?
It is the desire of WiMAX Forum to create harmonization of standards within IMT-Advanced technologies.

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When will WiMAX Release 2.0 Certification be ready?
The WiMAX Release 2.0 certification profiles were completed at the end of 1Q2013.

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How does WiMAX Advanced enhance a Multi-Mode network strategy?
Multi-Mode is a capability built into devices to allow them to operate multiple network technologies. This capability allows network operators to build out multiple network technologies and have a single end user device, which can connect to each technology. A WiMAX Advanced base station can run multiple radio interfaces simultaneously, which permits both single-mode and multi-mode devices to connect it.

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What is WiGRID?
WiGRID™ is an optimized IEEE 802.16 profile for Utility Field Area Networking applications. It was written by the WiMAX Forum’s Smart Grid Working Group, which is composed of technical representatives from major electric power utilities, WiMAX vendors and industry experts. The proposed WiGRID System profile is an Ethernet version of IEEE 802.16 that includes numerous new features that allow uplink centric data communications, lower latency, extended range, and enables the use of new frequency bands that various Utilities hold, namely 1.4 GHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 3.65 GHz and 5.8 GHz. Read more at http://www.wimaxforum.org/Page/Initiatives/WiGRID.

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What is AeroMACS?
Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS) is a broadband wireless communications system that can support the transmission of safety and regularity of flight data for both fixed and mobile applications on the airport surface. It is based on the mature WiMAX standard (IEEE 802.16e) and operates in the protected aviation spectrum band from 5091 MHz to 5150 MHz. The AeroMACS Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) and the AeroMACS Profile document have been jointly developed and approved by RTCA and EUROCAE. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has approved the AeroMACS Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS), which will help guarantee manufacturer interoperability and Global harmonization through certified equipment. The ARINC AEEC has unanimously approved the initiation of the AeroMACS Standards that will enable the system to be installed in Commercial type aircraft. The initial applications will likely be used to support the existing Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) in the cockpits. Read more at http://www.wimaxforum.org/Page/Initiatives/AeroMACS.

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