Light Reading

Faster WiMax on the Way

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
2/14/2007
50%
50%
Repost This

BARCELONA -- 3GSM World Congress -- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) has started working on a new version of the 802.16 standard -- the technology that WiMax is based on -- that could push data transfer speeds up to 1 Gbit/s while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing WiMax radios.

The standards body put together a work plan for the new specification, dubbed 802.16m, at its January session in London. Vendor sources here at the 3GSM show, however, have expressed some skepticism about the speed with the work can be completed (the end of 2009 is being mooted as a baked date) and the chances of maintaining backwards compatibility with mobile 802.16 technology.

The IEEE says it wants to develop a "competitive" and "significantly improved" radio access technology that is "compliant with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) R/IMT advanced requirements for 4G" while maintaining interoperability with the mobile WiMax kit that is just starting to arrive on the market. This will mean up to 1-Gbit/s fixed and 100-Mbit/s data transfer rates and "improved broadcast and multicast and VOIP performance and capacity," achieved through a number of technical tweaks to the air interface.

The muscle behind 802.16m will be multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) antenna technology on top of an OFDM-based radio system just like the upcoming "Wave 2" mobile WiMax products being plotted by several silicon vendors. The Wave 2 profile, which is being championed by Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), is expected to achieve mobile speeds of around 5 Mbit/s by using a two-by-two antenna array. 802.16m could up those speeds, in part, by using larger antenna arrays.

Insiders suggest that the latest work on the 802.16 and WiMax technologies is increasingly being driven by the wants and desires of carriers plotting next-generation mobile networks that will combine VOIP services with a hefty dose of whiz-bang multimedia services -- such as IPTV, streaming video, and fast music downloads. This is different from the initial work on fixed and mobile WiMax, which was pushed heavily by chipset and infrastructure vendors. (See Working for the MAN.)

Some folks worry that carriers have unrealistic expectations on how fast new WiMax profiles and interfaces can be developed. "They just walk in, snap their fingers, and expect it to happen," one industry source told us on the show floor yesterday. After all, it took several years for the IEEE to arrive at a satisfactory fixed broadband wireless specification in the form of 802.16d and even longer for the WiMAX Forum to certify interoperability between products using the technology. (See WiMax Spec Ratified.)

What's really provoking the disbelieving chuckles here at the show, however, is the requirement for backwards capability between current and future 802.16e offerings and the planned advanced air interface. Such disbelief is not that surprising when you think back to the recent interoperability issues between 802.16d and 802.16e. (See WiMax: A Spec Divided.)

Nonetheless -- despite possible future bumps in the road for 802.16m -- the move to develop a faster spec comes even before products based on the current mobile WiMax specification are generally available. This once again indicates the way certain parts of the industry are trying to aggressively push WiMax forward as the only the possible choice for future 4G networks.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed