Free Newsletter

WiMAX opens arms to TD-LTE at last

Forum acknowledges inevitability of carrier migration to LTE and proposes framework which supports multiple air interfaces


Published: 31 October, 2012

READ MORE: Standards | LTE | WiMAX

The WiMAX Forum has opened its platform to include elements of the TD-LTE standard it once sought to fight off. Although Declan Byrne, president of the industry body, insisted this would not "open the floodgates of a migration from WiMAX to other technologies", in effect this was an acknowledgement that, at least in the core mobile broadband space, that shift is already under way.

The Forum confirmed reports that its board had unanimously approved a proposal to add TD-LTE support to the upcoming WiMAX 2.1 specifications, at a meeting a few weeks ago. That spec will be ready in draft form by year end and ratified in early 2013. The WiMAX Advanced platform will effectively provide an IP-based framework which can support multiple air interfaces including its own 802.16 and the 3GPP TD-LTE standards.

Operators with software programmable dual-mode base stations would be able to support both WiMAX and TD-LTE devices simultaneously - something some carriers are already implementing, but this would allow for a standards-based approach.

The aim will be to make a dual-mode WiMAX/LTE platform simpler and more cost effective, which would prolong the opportunity for multimode device and chip suppliers and help operators to migrate in a gradual way. Currently mobile WiMAX providers are under pressure to move swiftly to LTE-only to tap into the larger device availability. However, to take advantage of the changes, they will need to have invested in flexible infrastructure with a view to eventual LTE coexistence, rather than older, single-mode kit.

WiMAX, after an early headstart, was overtaken by the huge mobile industry weight behind LTE. As long as five years ago, the Forum was reaching out to the 3GPP about greater convergence, and some basic similarities between the standard and the TDD flavour of LTE has allowed vendors to create flexible base stations, and help operators make relatively smooth transitions to the newer platform and its wider ecosystem. The significant opportunities for WiMAX now lie outside the mobile world, in vertical sectors such as smart grid and aviation, and in its traditional sphere of fixed wireless access.

The Forum's latest move would eventually allow WiMAX base stations to support LTE, though standardization is likely to come largely after the horse has bolted. Major Mobile WiMAX flagwavers like Yota in Russia, Clearwire in the US and Packet One in Malaysia have already embarked on LTE coexistence and migration programs and the first two aim to start introducing LTE-Advanced at an early stage (Yota is already supporting some elements of LTE-A in selected base stations).

"There is a fair amount of political freight along with this decision," Byrne told WirelessWeek. "What we don't want to suggest is this announcement is opening the floodgates of a migration from WiMAX to other technologies."

Pages: 1 | 2

Related Stories


  • email story Email
  • print story Print
  • digit digit
  • facebook facebook
  • Twitter Twitter
  • Linked-in Linked-In
  • Comments (0)


Add Comment
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!

    BYOD: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    An in-depth insight into the rise of BYOD policies within the enterprise and analysis of the impact the trend will have on IT departments,...

    Voice Command, Control and Search on Mobile Phones: Market Analysis & Forecasts

    This report provides a comprehensive insight into the growing importance of voice command, control and search on handsets, analysing...

    Data Centre Network Equipment: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    This report provides a global assessment of the data centre network equipment market. Besides assessing the key market trends, sub-markets...

    HetNet Market Summary & Forecasts: Macro Cells, Small Cells & Wi-Fi Offload

    Carriers are struggling to cope with the explosion of data traffic on their networks, and the additional deployment of LTE and legacy...

    Over-the-Top Communications: Threats & Opportunities for Mobile Operators

    This report examines the implications of widespread adoption of mobile over-the-top IP communications for mobile operators, handset...

    Portable Gaming Consoles: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    This report provides a global assessment of the PGC market. In addition to assessing the key market drivers, market barriers, vendor...

    Satellite Phones: Will Dual Mode Help the Phoenix Rise from the Ashes?

    Satellite phones have followed an arduous path since their much-hyped launch more than a decade ago. The hype was followed by an e...

    Mobile Widget Platform Market Analysis: Understanding the Business Case and ROI

    This white paper presents an analysis of the mobile widget platform market, as well as metrics supporting a mobile carrier?s busin...


You must be a registered user to post a comment. or
Username *
Email *
Comment *