As the noise coming out of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) crowd continues to grow louder WiMAX Forum is finally making some noise around the next generation of mobile WiMAX, which is designed to be technically on par with LTE.
The WiMAX Forum and executives from WiMAX suppliers and operator were on hand during ITU Telecom World 2009 to voice their commitment to build and trial the next release of mobile WiMAX, known as WiMAX Release 2 based on the 802.16m standard. The WiMAX Forum, along with 50 companies, announced the endorsement of IEEE's submission to ITU-R that proposes an IEEE 802.16m-based candidate for IMT-Advanced 4G standards. The WiMAX Forum also announced that it will finalize its WiMAX Release 2 specification in parallel with IEEE 802.16m and IMT-Advanced, ensuring that WiMAX Release 2 networks and devices will remain backward compatible with legacy WiMAX Release 1 based on IEEE 802.16e.
The new 802.16m standard offers new capabilities and efficiencies, including 4X2 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 Mbit/s downlink and 60 Mbit/s uplink per site simultaneously. Higher data rates can be obtained with additional spectrum resources or more complex antenna schemes. The WiMAX Release 2 profile will also incorporate these capabilities for improved VoIP capacity, spectral efficiency, latency, handover speed, cell range, and coverage, with support for wider operating bandwidth in both TDD and FDD duplexing, the WiMAX Forum said. The WiMAX Forum expects to see WiMAX Release 2 available commercially in the 2011-2012 time frame.
Peter Jarich, research director with Current Analysis, noted that "excitement around LTE makes it imperative for the WiMAX industry to paint a technology roadmap for its customers. While 802.16e networks may be delivering mobile broadband services today, LTE is expected to deliver services with better mobility support, greater data rates and a stronger ecosystem (in the medium-term). This makes the evolution of the 802.16e standard critical."
The WiMAX Forum also announced the number of WiMAX deployments reached approximately 504 networks in 145 countries, with 15 new deployments added in August
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