WiMAX Forum: 2013's goals target smart grids, backhaul

The WiMAX Forum is working on the next generation of WiMAX technology, continuing its push into vertical business models and eyeing creation of a framework that would enable WiMAX's use for wireless carrier Ethernet services.

In a note addressed to the "WiMAX Community," Mohammad Shakouri, WiMAX Forum chairman, outlined three key initiatives the group is targeting for 2013, starting with work on WiMAX Advanced.

In October 2012, the WiMAX Forum acknowledged that most WiMAX operators are also interested, or already investing, in other radio access technologies and announced its WiMAX Advanced network evolution roadmap beyond WiMAX Release 1 and Release 2 will accommodate harmonization and coexistence across multiple broadband wireless access technologies. In late 2012 the forum approved WiMAX Release 2.1 to focus on support for multiple radio access technologies.

"In 2013 the WiMAX Forum working groups are already hard at work on the requirements for WiMAX Release 2.2, which will further address the advances of Release 2.1 within the network," said Shakouri.

The forum has previously stated that Releases 2.2 and beyond are expected to enable features such as link aggregation and load balancing.

Shakouri said the forum is also working to further advance its WiGrid initiative this year. Last week, the forum's Smart Grid Working Group published a system profile requirements document to support the adaptation of WiMAX technology for smart grid networks, one vertical business segment the group is particularly targeting.

"The proposed WiGrid System profile is an Ethernet version of IEEE 802.16 that includes numerous new features that allow uplink centric data communications, lower latency, extended range and enables the use of new frequency bands that various utilities hold, namely 1.4 GHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 3.65 GHz and 5.8 GHz," said the group.

The WiMAX Forum is also targeting the use of WiMAX as a wireless backhaul solution for carrier networks. "Work has already been initiated with the IEEE on the P802.16r project to address this potential at the air interface and Ethernet convergence layers, and the WiMAX Forum has likewise assembled an informal task group to investigate how the forum can support this market with an architectural framework capable of supporting Ethernet services over a variety of wireless air interface technologies," wrote Shakouri.

The forum will hold its first WiMAX Forum Member Conference for this year March 11-14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For more:
- see this WiMAX Forum release

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