WiMAX™ (Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access) is based on modern communications technologies, such as OFDMA and MIMO. This establishes WiMAX™ as a cellular broadband standard, providing high performance in data rate, mobility and cell size. VoIP and roaming capabilities are additional focus areas for WiMAX™. This IEEE non-3GPP standardization approach is mainly driven by the traditional computer industry, which has created the Wi-Fi standard before. With its high IP capabilities, WiMAX™ is targeting the mobile Internet.
Originally only specified for the TDD mode, WiMAX™ Release 1.5 also includes FDD functionality to enable network operators to implement WiMAX™ in the ITU FDD frequency bands.
WiMAX™ Release 2.0 is the next evolutionary step, specified in IEEE 802.16m and also referred to as Advanced WiMAX™. A further increase in data rate, compared to IEEE 802.16e, will be achieved with higher channel bandwidth and up to 4x4 MIMO technology, making this standard also a candidate for the IMT Advanced technology.
More than 400 rollouts, including over 50 IEEE 802.16e rollouts, have already been carried out in 133 countries. Today’s deployments focus on the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands. Most WiMAX™ deployments use licensed frequency bands. It remains to be seen whether network operators applying fixed WiMAX™ today will upgrade to Mobile WiMAX™ in the near future. With the decision from the ITU to open up the 3G spectrum for WiMAX™, it is expected that deployments in the 3G spectrum at 1.9 GHz and 2 GHz will rise.