IEEE approves next-generation WiMAX standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved the next-generation WiMAX standard known as 802.16m.

The new standard, also known as WiMAX-2, was four years in the making and is designed to deliver downlink speeds of more than 300 Mbps. The new standard offers new capabilities and efficiencies, including 4 X 2 MIMO in the urban microcell scenario with only a single 20 MHz TDD channel available system wide. The 802.16m standard will be designed to support both 120 Mbps downlink and 60 Mbps uplink per site simultaneously. The new standard should be ready for commercialization by the end of this year or early 2012.

After assessing six candidate submissions for the official title of "4G," the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) harmonized them into two technologies--LTE-Advanced and 802.16m technology. Therefore, 802.16m is officially 4G, unlike what is being marketed by operators today.

The question is: How many WiMAX operators will move to 802.16m? Clearwire is testing LTE, while other big WiMAX backers have decided to move down the LTE path. In addition, operators, such as Canada Xplore Barret, which is embarking on a nationwide broadband network based on WiMAX, have stipulated that the WiMAX equipment be upgradeable to LTE in the future.

However, in October, Samsung joined Japan's WiMAX operator UQ Communications in a trial of 802.16m technology that resulted in network speeds of 330 Mbps. During the trial, UQ streamed full HD 3D over Samsung's mobile WiMAX kit.

For more:
- see this Computerworld article

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