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A Survey on WiMAX

A Survey on WiMAX

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Published by ijcsis
This paper describes an overview of WiMAX. The paper outlines fundamental architectural components for WiMAX and explains WiMAX Security Issues. Furthermore various 802.16 standards, IEEE 802.16 protocol architecture and WiMAX Market will be discussed.
This paper describes an overview of WiMAX. The paper outlines fundamental architectural components for WiMAX and explains WiMAX Security Issues. Furthermore various 802.16 standards, IEEE 802.16 protocol architecture and WiMAX Market will be discussed.

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Published by: ijcsis on Jun 12, 2010
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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 2, 2010
A Survey on WiMAX
Mohsen Gerami
 
The Faculty of Applied Science of Post and Communications
 
Danesh Blv, Jenah Ave, Azadi Sqr, Tehran, Iran.
 
Postal code: 1391637111
 Abstract
 — 
This paper describes an overview of WiMAX. Thepaper outlines fundamental architectural components forWiMAX and explains WiMAX Security Issues. Furthermorevarious 802.16 standards, IEEE 802.16 protocol architecture andWiMAX Market will be discussed.
 Keywords: WiMAX; IEEE 802.16; Security; Protocol; Market;
I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 WiMAX, meaning Worldwide Interoperability forMicrowave Access, is a telecommunications technology thatprovides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portableand fully mobile internet access. The technology provides up to10 Mbps broadband speed without the need for cables. Thetechnology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also calledBroadband Wireless Access). The name "WiMAX" wascreated by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of thestandard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-basedtechnology enabling the delivery of last mile wirelessbroadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL" [1].As compared to a wireless technology like Wi-Fi, WiMAXis more immune to interference, allows more efficient use of bandwidth and is intended to allow higher data rates overlonger distances. Because it operates on licensed spectrum, inaddition to unlicensed frequencies, WiMAX provides aregulated environment and viable economic model for wirelesscarriers. These benefits, coupled with the technology's globalsupport (e.g., ongoing worldwide deployments, spectrumallocation and standardization), make it the popular choice forquick and cost-effective delivery of super-fast broadbandwireless access to underserved areas around the world [2].WiMAX is cheaper than wired DSL because it does notrequire placing wires around the area to be covered, whichrepresents an enormous investment for the provider. Notrequiring this investment opens the door to many serviceproviders who can start retailing out wireless broadband withlow capital, thereby causing prices to drop due to competition .As with any wireless technology, the requirements forWiMAX are basically a transmitter and a receiver. Thetransmitter is a WiMAX tower, much like a GSM tower. it isthe part of the service provider's facilities. One tower, alsocalled a base station, can provide coverage to an area within aradius of around 50 km. On the other side, in order to receivethe WiMAX waves, you need a receiver for WiMAX forconnecting your computer or device.WiMAX has a range of around 50 km in a circle. Terrain,weather and buildings affect this range and this often results inmany people not receiving signals good enough for a properconnection. Orientation is also an issue, and some people haveto choose to place their WiMAX modems near windows andturned in certain specific directions for good reception.A WiMAX connection is normally non-line-of-sight, whichmeans that the transmitter and the receiver need not have aclear line between them. But a line-of-sight version exists,where performance and stability is much better, since this doesaway with problems associated with terrain and buildings [3].II.
 
W
I
MAX
FUNDAMENTAL ARCHITECTURAL COMPONENTS
WiMAX has four fundamental architectural components:
Base Station (BS).
The BS is the node that logicallyconnects wireless subscriber devices to operator networks. TheBS maintains communications with subscriber devices andgoverns access to the operator networks. A BS consists of theinfrastructure elements necessary to enable wirelesscommunications, i.e., antennas, transceivers, and otherelectromagnetic wave transmitting equipment. BSs aretypically fixed nodes, but they may also be used as part of mobile solutions
 — 
for example, a BS may be affixed to avehicle to provide communications for nearby WiMAXdevices. A BS also serves as a Master Relay-Base Station in themulti-hop relay topology.
Subscriber Station (SS).
The SS is a fixed wireless node.An SS typically communicates only with BSs, except for multi-hop relay network operations. SSs are available in both outdoorand indoor models.
Mobile Subscriber (MS).
Defined in IEEE 802.16e-2005,MSs are wireless nodes that work at vehicular speeds andsupport enhanced power management modes of operation. MSdevices are typically small and self-powered, e.g., laptops,cellular phones, and other portable electronic devices.
Relay Station (RS).
Defined in IEEE 802.16j-2009, RSsare SSs configured to forward traffic to other RSs, SSs, or MSsin a multi-hop Security Zone [4].
352http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 2, 2010
Figure 1. WiMAX network architectures: (a) PMP mode; (b) mesh mode [5].
WiMAX devices communicate using two message types:management messages and data messages.
 Data messages
transport data across the WiMAX network.
 Management messages
are used to maintain communications between anSS/MS and BS, i.e., establishing communication parameters,exchanging security settings, and performing systemregistration events (initial network entry, handoffs, etc.)IEEE 802.16 defines frequency bands for WiMAXoperations based on signal propagation type. In one type,WiMAX employs a radio frequency (RF) beam to propagatesignals between nodes. Propagation over this beam is highlysensitive to RF obstacles, so an unobstructed view betweennodes is needed. This type of signal propagation, called
line-of-sight (LOS)
, is limited to fixed operations and uses the 10
 – 
66gigahertz (GHz) frequency range. The other type of signalpropagation is called
non-line-of-sight (NLOS)
. NLOS employsadvanced RF modulation techniques to compensate for RFsignal changes caused by obstacles that would prevent LOScommunications. NLOS can be used for both fixed WiMAXoperations (in the 2
 – 
11 GHz range) and mobile operations (inthe 2
 – 
6 GHz range). NLOS signal propagation is morecommonly employed than LOS because of obstacles thatinterfere with LOS communications and because of strictregulations for frequency licensing and antenna deployment inmany environments that hinder the feasibility of using LOS [4].III.
 
IEEE
 
802.16The IEEE developed the 802.16 in its first version toaddress line of sight (LOS) access at spectrum ranges from 10GHz to 66 GHz. The technology has evolved through severalupdates to the standard such as 802.16a, 802.16c, the FixedWiMAX 802.16d (802.16-2004) specification and lastly themobile 802.16e set that are currently commerciallyavailable. The upcoming 802.16m is still a ways away fromratification. The first update added support for 2 GHz through11 GHz spectrum with NLOS capability. Each update addedadditional functionality or expanded the reach of the standard.For example, the 802.16c revision added support for spectrumranges both licensed and unlicensed from 2 GHz to 10 GHz. Italso improved quality of service (QOS) and certainimprovements in the media access control (MAC) layer alongwith adding support for the HiperMAN Europeanstandard. The number of supported physical (PHY) layers wasincreased. Transport mediums such as IP, Ethernet andasynchronous transfer mode (ATM) were added.At its core, the technology is intended to take a number of bestof breed proprietary enhancements that had been made byvendors using the 802.11 standard and combine them togetherin a very marketable and standardized WiMAX product.For example, older broadband wireless technology such as theWi-Fi or 802.11b system utilized carrier sense multiple accesswith collision detection (CSMA/CD) crosstalk methods forbase stations and customer premise equipment (CPE) to talk toone another. Basically, this meant that each radio wasconstantly talking and creating inefficient overhead. It alsoresulted, especially at times of high traffic, in increased packetcollisions and retransmissions, further exacerbating theproblem. Some of the proprietary MAC systems built laterutilized the base station to define when the CPE would bepolled in order to eliminate this problem. In the way of apermanent cure the 802.16 protocol supports multiple methodsof polling that a vendor can choose to use. Some of theseinclude piggybacking polling requests within overhead traffic,group polling or dynamic co-opting of bandwidth from anotherunit by the CPE. The key is that the radios will beinterchangeable based on the Forum's initial product profile aswell as more efficient [6].
 A.
 
The various 802.16 standards
802.16a: Licensed Frequency 2 GHz to 11 GHz. TheWorking IEEE 802.16a operates at the MAC and PHYspecification and specifies the transfer of non-visualconnections (NLOS). Frequencies are important for the 3.5GHz and 5.8 GHz licensed for royalty-free applications. Thedata is at a channel width of 20 MHz 75 Mbit / s. 802.16a isreplaced by 802.16-2004.
Specifications of 802.16
802.16b: Licensed Exempt Frequencies, with a focus on thefrequency band of between 5 GHz and 6 GHz. This group alsoruns under the name Wireless HUMAN (High SpeedUnlicensed MAN).802.16c: Profiles of transmission frequencies in thefrequency range from 10 GHz to 66 GHz. The channel width isin the U.S. 25 MHz, 28 MHz in Europe. 802.16c is replaced by802.16-2004.802.16d: Profiles of transmission frequencies in thefrequency range of 2 GHz to 66 GHz. Replaced by 802.16-2004. This standard provides visual and non-visual connectionsin the range of 2 GHz to 66 GHz.802.16e-2005: Mobile Wireless MAN (WMAN). Thisworking group defines a mobile access in the context of IEEE802.16. Here are ranges of more than 10 Mbps in cells in therange of several kilometers and speeds exceeding 100 kphinvestigated. In addition, 16e-clients between different radio
353http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 2, 2010
cells can switch, known as roaming. 802.16e is in conjunctionwith DSRC an interesting alternative for telematic and safetyservices in the automotive technology.802.16f: MIB management for access networks.802.16g: Definition of Management Plane.802.16h: Coexistence of Networks. This Working Groupdeals with the problems of coexistence of different radiotechnologies in unlicensed bands transmission.802.16i: Mobile One Plane Information802.16j: bridging alternative to 802.11k. This involvesEquipment for a mobile relay, which has severalcommunications partner stations can connect.802.16k: Bridging802.16m: 802.16m The group is working on the high-speedtransmission with up to 1 Gbit / s.802.16-1: Air Interface for 10 GHz to 66 GHz.802.16.2: Coexistence of Broadband Wireless AccessSystems. This Working Group deals with the coexistence of existing systems. Replaced by 802.16.2-2004.802.16.2-2004: Combines standards 802.16, 802.16a,802.16c and 802.16d in a standard and regulate the coexistenceof wireless broadband systems in the range of 10 GHz to 66GHz.802.16.2a: Recommended Practice for Coexistence of Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems. This group is thecoexistence of PMP systems between 2 GHz and 11 GHzredefine.802.16.3: Air Interface for Fixed Broadband WirelessAccess Systems operating below 11 GHz. In this group are theunlicensed bands, such as the ISM band, the PersonalCommunications Services (PCS), and MMDS Unii for the useof a high-speed access MAN investigated [7].The following table provides a summary of the IEEE802.16 family of standards [8].
TABLE I. S
UMMARY OF THE
IEEE
 
802.16
FAMILY OF STANDARDS
 
 B.
 
 IEEE 802.16 protocol architecture
The IEEE 802.16 protocol architecture is structured intotwo main layers: the Medium Access Control (MAC) layer andthe Physical (PHY) layer, as described in the following table[9]:
Figure 2. The IEEE 802.16 Protocol structure
MAC layer consists of three sub-layers. The first sub-layeris the Service Specific Convergence Sub-layer (CS), whichmaps higher level data services to MAC layer service flow andconnections [10]. The second sub-layer is Common Part Sub-layer (CPS), which is the core of the standard and is tightlyintegrated with the security sub-layer. This layer defines therules and mechanisms for system access, bandwidth allocationand connection management. The MAC protocol data units areconstructed in this sub-layer. The last sub-layer of MAC layeris the Security Sub-layer which lies between the MAC CPS andthe PHY layer, addressing the authentication, keyestablishment and exchange, encryption and decryption of dataexchanged between MAC and PHY layers.The PHY layer provides a two-way mapping between MACprotocol data units and the PHY layer frames received andtransmitted through coding and modulation of radio frequencysignals [8].
354http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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