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WiMAX2 to be commercialized this year

IEEE to finalize standard in March, Taiwan puts weight behind the platform


Published: 11 January, 2011

READ MORE: Standards | WiMAX

The next generation of the WiMAX standard will be commercialized this year, industry officials promised as they gathered in Taiwan for technology meetings last week. WiMAX2, based on the 802.16m standard, will be backwards compatible with the current Mobile WiMAX platform, but with faster data rates, and enhanced security and power efficiency. It will also support wide 20MHz channels.

The Taipei meetings were a prelude to the finalization of the IEEE's 16m standard in March, which would set the scene for products to appear at the end of this year. The certification and interoperability testing processes, which were lengthy for the current 16e platform, should be far quicker this time, because it is an extension of an existing standard, and because many lessons have been learned about how OFDMA-based devices behave.

Once 16m is approved this quarter, manufacturers will be able to pre-install the technology and begin the testing programs. Rakesh Taori, vice chair of the 802.16 working group, told IDG that key enhancements will be better battery life for devices; privacy protection for users and their locations; and the doubling of bandwidth, which will enable data rates that will leapfrog those of LTE and get closer to the goal of 'true 4G', at 100Mbps while mobile.

Taiwan's state-run Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is working closely with 10 local manufacturers to kickstart the uptake of WiMAX2. Taiwan has been a critical player in the WiMAX market, placing the weight of its vast manufacturing community behind the technology and aiming to create a national mobile broadband network based on 16e. This is a technology that Taiwan feels it can influence in IPR terms too, unlike 3GPP standards. An ITRI engineer, Song Ting-chen, said in an interview: "That way we'll be able to exercise our competitiveness in terms of patents or our manufacturing. Some of our contributions have already been accepted by the international community."

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