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Fixed or Mobile WiMax

Fixed or Mobile WiMax

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Published by: rarinca_ruxandra on Jan 31, 2010
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05/08/2012

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Fixed or mobile WiMAX? -
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Fixed and mobile WiMAX: two technologies and twomarkets?
WiMAX promises to be a single technology that brings wireless broadbandconnectivity to both fixed and mobile users. However, it is now clear that there will betwo distinct flavors of WiMAX: 802.16-2004 WiMAX for fixed services and 802.16e (or802.16-2005) WiMAX for both fixed and mobile services (Table 1). Although they areboth based on the same IEEE 802.16 standard, the most recent version—802.16eWiMAX—will not be backwards-compatible with 802.16-2004 WiMAX, as was initiallyexpected. The market will therefore have to choose between two stand-alonesolutions, each best suited to different market segments and with distinctperformance profiles.
A definition of fixed and mobile accessDefinition DevicesLocations/SpeedHandoffssupported802.16-2004WiMAX802.16eWiMAXFixed access
Outdoor and indoorCPEsSingle/StationaryNo Yes Yes
Nomadicaccess
Indoor CPEs,PCMCIA cardsMultiple/StationaryNo Yes Yes
Portable access
Laptop PCMCIAor mini cardsMultiple/WalkingspeedHardhandoffsNo Yes
Simple mobileaccess
Laptop PCMCIAor mini cards,PDAs or smartphonesMultiple/Low vehicularspeedHardhandoffsNo Yes
Full mobileaccess
Laptop PCMCIAor mini cards,PDAs or smartphonesMultiple/HighvehicularspeedSofthandoffsNo Yes
Source: WiMAX Forum
Table 1. A definition of fixed and mobile access 
Vendors are working on products that combine 802.16-2004 and 802.16e WiMAXwhich will facilitate the transition to 802.16e and to mobile services, but dual-modeequipment will not remove the complexity entirely. The situation is comparable to
 
Fixed or mobile WiMAX? -
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multi-mode Wi-Fi SUs and access points, which combine 802.11a, 802.11b, and802.11g. Users with multi-mode a/b/g cards can access any Wi-Fi network, as longas they have the appropriate credentials. In the case of Wi-Fi, the de-facto dominanceof 802.11b coupled with the smaller coverage area of the networks make the impactless severe. In WiMAX, it is not yet clear how the balance between 802.16-2004 and802.16e will evolve, but it is unlikely that 802.16-2004 WiMAX will become asdominant as 802.11b. On the contrary, we expect that 802.16e WiMAX will eventuallyerode the market share of 802.16-2004 and that it will frequently be deployed toserve fixed customers as well as those with mobile needs.Vendors and service providers alike need to identify the best transition path if theywant to migrate to 802.16e WiMAX when products become available. Vendors havebeen working on a product development path that will enable service providers totransition gradually from an 802.16-2004 to an 802.16e WiMAX network. Serviceproviders need to decide whether 802.16-2004 WiMAX meets their long-termrequirements, or whether they would eventually like to take advantage of theadditional functionality offered by 802.16e WiMAX. As the timeline and roadmap forthe transition are not yet entirely clear, many service providers are going to postponedecisions until more is known about 802.16e WiMAX.At present relatively little is known about 802.16e WiMAX though a clearer picture isemerging. The 802.16e amendment has only recently been approved and productcertification is still several months away. Meanwhile 802.16-2004 WiMAX-certifiedproducts will become commercially available during the first quarter of 2006, with thefirst WiMAX deployments expected a few months later. In this context, it is crucial thatevery player in the WiMAX ecosystem thoroughly assesses the level of demand forboth technologies and the role that they will play in the market. This report will be avaluable tool to assist them in this task.
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Why a mobile WiMAX?
The decision to add a mobile version of WiMAX was neither easy nor uncontroversial.A single interface would have resulted in an easier path to mobility, greaterinteroperability, and, most likely, faster adoption in the earlier stages. But 802.16eWiMAX brings more robust support for portability, mobility and Non Line of Sight(NLOS) connectivity, and supports a wider range of SU
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form factors (Table 2) than thefixed variant. On balance, the move to a separate mobile interface was required forWiMAX to stake its claim as a mobile technology that can compete in performancewith 3G networks.
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. Throughout the report we refer to SU as including fixed, portable, and mobile devices. CPE only indicatesfixed devices, which can be either for outdoor or indoor use.

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