In response to the demand for 4G WiMAX networks and services, the WiMAX Forum today launched a global initiative to accelerate advanced WiMAX features that enhance the average performance of its current Release 1 technology by more than 50 percent while remaining compliant with the IEEE Standard 802.16e.
Based on this accelerated schedule, certified products using these enhancements are expected in late 2010.
This initiative will not delay the development of WiMAX Release 2 (WiMAX 2). In support of the expected completion of the IEEE Standard 802.16m in the second half of 2010, the WiMAX Forum is fast-tracking profiling and certification activities to prepare for WiMAX 2 product certification in late 2011.
Based on the IEEE 802.16m standard, WiMAX 2 builds on the existing 802.16e infrastructure, adding new features, while maintaining backwards compatibility. The technology also meets the International Telecommunications Union requirements for 4G, delivering higher system capacity at peak rates of more than 300 Mbps, lower latency and increased VoIP.
"With the global demand for 4G wireless broadband services experiencing explosive growth, WiMAX service providers need faster networks with greater capacity and efficiency, and the WiMAX community has responded," said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. "There is no country where this demand is as pronounced as it is in India, where there is less than three percent broadband penetration. WiMAX can address this demand as well as the growing needs around the globe, plus we're committed to taking performance to the next level in an unmatched timeframe."
Enhancements under development include support for additional MIMO antennae on the base stations (4 transmit antennas instead of 2), higher order (64 QAM) modulation on the uplink, downlink beamforming, and improved fractional frequency reuse (FFR) to increase performance in reuse deployments while ensuring multi-vendor interoperability. These new features have the potential to double peak data rates and increase average and cell edge end user performance by 50 percent.
With the completion of IEEE Standard 802.16m later this year, the WiMAX Forum is also set to expedite WiMAX 2 technology into the hands of operators and consumers. Because the market is already seeing 802.16m products in development, the WiMAX Forum is preparing for certification of Release 2 products in late 2011.
WiMAX 2 is based on IEEE Standard 802.16m, which is documented to meet the International Telecommunications Union's "IMT-Advanced" requirements, delivering significant improvements in coverage and capacity that will form the foundation of the next decade of 4G technology. The standard provides for huge peak (zero path loss) transmission rates -- for example, up to 300 Mbps in a 20 MHz downlink channel -- and even lower latency. By enabling aggregation of multiple RF carriers, wider effective channel bandwidths of up to 100 MHz are possible. Wider channels and higher order MIMO antenna configurations enable the scaling of capacity to many times that of the most advanced wireless systems today.
The WiMAX Forum currently tracks 559 WiMAX deployments in 147 countries estimated to cover more than 620 million people across the globe. More than 130 devices and 60 base stations have been certified by the WiMAX Forum for the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.