Advancing Toward WiMAX Advanced
The WiMAX Forum leveraged its opportunity at 4G World 2012 last week to brief press and analysts on the state of the WiMAX market and announced an updated technology roadmap designed to help operators support multiple radio access technologies. This announcement came as the WiMAX Forum completed its session on 4G Network Evolution: Roadmap to IMT Advanced.
With more than 500 deployments across 150 countries worldwide, the WiMAX standard has inspired a new wireless broadband operator business model based on a flexible, open, flat, all-IP network architecture that is well suited to providing wireless Internet access services.
The WiMAX Forum has now announced the development of WiMAX Advanced, which will open its operator community to a broader ecosystem of radio access technologies and devices beyond WiMAX Release 1.0 and 2.0. WiMAX Advanced will allow operators to more easily coexist and accommodate harmonization within a heterogeneous WiMAX Advanced network environment. This WiMAX Forum announcement was made with the support of several leading WiMAX operators, infrastructure vendors, chipset and device suppliers.
Without requiring a major network upgrade or investment, WiMAX Advanced will allow operators to leverage their investment in all-IP broadband data networks and multi-mode base stations to access a broader ecosystem of 4G devices, including those based on TD-LTE. Many existing WiMAX operators do not have the spectrum or capital to deploy a parallel TD-LTE radio access network and new Evolved Packet Core (EPC).
Without the constraints of any legacy mobile technologies and with the support of the vendor community, WiMAX Advanced will allow WiMAX operators to operate within a heterogeneous network environment by accommodating harmonization and coexistence across multiple broadband wireless access technologies. WiMAX Advanced should be viewed as a positive development, welcomed by operators and vendors worldwide.
The WiMAX ecosystem has always been focused on remaining open and flexible to adapt to the needs of its operators, applications and end customers. The WiMAX Forum has also developed new modes for addressing certain specific vertical industry market opportunities. The WiMAX Forum's roadmap already includes WiGRID, a new wide-area networking technology based on IEEE 802.16e and complementary to cellular M2M, for energy utilities and smart grid industrial applications. The WiMAX Forum has a similar AeroMACS initiative based on WiMAX technology to support the aviation industry, as airports around the globe update their communications infrastructure. — Berge Ayvazian, Senior Consultant, Heavy Reading