Support FAQ

What is WiMAX™ technology?

WiMAX™ is based upon the IEEE 801.16 standard enabling the delivery of wireless broadband services anytime, anywhere. WiMAX™ products can accommodate fixed and mobile usage models. The IEEE 802.16 standard was developed to deliver non-line-of-sight (LoS) connectivity between a subscriber station and base station with typical cell radius of three to ten kilometers. All base stations and subscriber stations claiming to be WiMAX compliant must go through a rigorous WiMAX Forum Certified™ testing process. WiMAX Forum Certified systems can be expected to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps per channel. This is enough bandwidth to simultaneously support hundreds of businesses with E-1 speed connectivity and thousands of residences with DSL speed connectivity. The WiMAX Forum expects mobile network deployments to provide up to 15 Mbps of capacity within a typical cell radius of up to three kilometers. WiMAX technology already has been incorporated in notebook computers and PDA's to deliver high-speed mobile Internet services anytime, anywhere.

What are the key elements of WiMAX technology?

A key differentiator for WiMAX is the interoperability of WiMAX Forum Certified equipment, resulting in mass volume economy of scale and assurance for service providers that when buying equipment from more than one company, the technologies are inter operable. The WiMAX Forum has assembled an alliance of leaders in the communications and computing industries to drive a common platform for the global deployment of IP-based broadband wireless services. Other key elements include cost, coverage, capacity and standards for both fixed and mobile wireless usage models.

Lower cost

A standards based platform for WiMAX technology drives down costs delivering volume economics to WiMAX equipment.

Wider coverage

The technology behind WiMAX has been optimized to provide excellent non-line-of-sight (NLoS) coverage. NLoS advantages are coverage of wider areas, better predictability of coverage and lower cost as it means fewer base stations and backhaul, simple RF planning, shorter towers and faster CPE install times. Thanks to techniques for improving NLoS coverage, such as diversity, space-time coding, and Automatic Retransmission Request (ARQ), coverage are increased.

Higher capacity

A key advantage of WiMAX technology is to use Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) over Edge, GPRS, HSPA to deliver higher bandwidth efficiency and therefore higher data throughput, with more than one Mbps downstream and higher data rates. Adaptive modulation also increases link reliability for carrier-class operation and the possibility to keep higher order modulation at wider distance extend full capacity over longer distances.

Standard for all usage models (fixed to mobile)

By leveraging the same technology networks, WiMAX technology will become the most cost-effective solution for carriers to deploy for any usage model from fixed to mobile. The WiMAX Forum certifies products for conformance and interoperability based upon the standards IEEE 802.16.

What is the data transfer speed of WiMAX technology for end users?

Users can expect to have broadband access speeds ranging from 1-5 Mbps depending on the service provider offering. Plus, there is a range difference because it depends on a number of factors, including which frequency is being used, distance of the user from the base station or node, whether there is line of site or NLoS to the base station, and the number of users on the network.
When the WiMAX Forum refers to 40 Mbps, it is referring to a single channel in wireless frequency (as part of the network) that is likely shared among multiple users. Individual users will have access to that amount of capacity, but the likelihood is they will have the ability to achieve downlink speeds of 1-5 Mbps, which is similar to the cable experience. There is the potential to burst to higher speeds, but that would depend on the operator's plans and business model.

Is there a difference between Fixed and Mobile WiMAX™?

Mobile WiMAX

WiMAX is also called Mobile WiMAX as it can serve all usage models from fixed to mobile with the same infrastructure. Based on the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard, Mobile WiMAX offers fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile capabilities 
Does not rely on line-of-sight transmissions in lower frequency bands (2 to 11 GHz) 
Provides enhanced performance, even in fixed and nomadic environments 
Currently uses Time Division Duplexing (TDD) 
System bandwidth is scalable to adapt to capacity and coverage needs 

How many subscribers can a single WiMAX node serve?

A single WiMAX base station or node should be able to serve thousands of subscribers. The actual number of users will depend on the guaranteed bandwidth to each users and the actual spectrum used by the operator.

WiMAX Forum Questions

What is the WiMAX Forum?

The WiMAX Forum was established in June 2001 and is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization of more than 520 companies to include over 200 operators formed to certify and promote broadband wireless products based upon the harmonized IEEE 802.16/ETSI HiperMAN standard. The WiMAX Forum strives to ensure global adoption of a common platform to deliver Broadband Wireless services as a standard alone is not enough to effect mass adoption of a technology. Along these lines, the Forum works closely with service providers, regulators, equipment manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, Certification labs, and application service providers to ensure that WiMAX Forum Certified systems meet customer and government requirements. WiMAX Forum Certified™ products are fully interoperable and support all usage models of broadband wireless services.

Which companies are involved with the WiMAX Forum?

The WiMAX Forum® has hundreds of members, comprising the majority of operators, component vendors and equipment vendors in the communications ecosystem. These members represent the entire ecosystem of companies necessary for bringing WiMAX Forum Certified™ products to market, including equipment manufacturers, operators, system integrators, silicon and component makers, test equipment manufacturers, test labs, content and application providers. Each one of its members is essential to the progress of the WiMAX Forum’s vision of global adoption of WiMAX as the Mobile Internet technology of choice anytime, anywhere and in a wide variety of products. Regulators are invited as observers as they play an active role in determining spectrum opportunities for WiMAX technology.

WiMAX Forum Certified™ Questions

What does WiMAX Forum Certified™ mean? How is this different from "WiMAX compliant?"

The ultimate goal of the WiMAX Forum is to promote and accelerate the introduction of cost-effective broadband wireless access services into the marketplace. Standards-based, interoperable solutions enable economies of scale that, in turn, drive price and performance levels unachievable by proprietary approaches, making WiMAX Forum Certified products the most competitive at delivering broadband services on a wide scale. WiMAX compliant devices are those that may make the claim that the devices match the same specifications as laid out by the WiMAX Forum®, but these are not certified as such and have not been tested to the rigorous standards that WiMAX Forum Certified™ devices have.


WiMAX vs. Other Technologies Questions

How does WiMAX technology compare to broadband and WiFi transfer speeds?

WiMAX is broadband connection to the Internet at service quality. WiFi is a wireless local area network. WiMAX and WiFi are complementary.
We are working with device manufacturers/CE companies to incorporate WiFi/WiMAX into devices everywhere. Our focus is on enabling Internet connectivity/flexible services and applications, as opposed to customer acquisition.

Cost Related Questions

What will the customer premise equipment (CPE) be like and what will it cost?

CPE's will range in terms of power output and throughput and features. The applications will naturally vary depending on the form factors (see Consumer Premises Equipment under Products). Costs for devices range significantly dependent on form factor and quantities required over committed periods. Please contact us for quotations. We will need to know the following information:
1. The form factors required - e.g. Indoor (Data + WiFi), Outdoor
2. Your allocated frequency as granted by your Telecommunications Regulator for your country
3. The Base Station and Core Network vendors and infrastructure deployed to understand the interoperability required
4. Volumes and Timings of your prospective orders

What is the estimated cost of deploying a citywide WiMAX network versus a citywide WiFi network?

These are very different systems and applications. WiFi networks are license exempt with no QoS and therefore comparing apples and oranges when comparing these technologies. The WiMAX Forum doesn't expect WiFi to be a competitor to WiMAX for outdoor wireless broadband connection to the Internet. Indoors, the WiMAX Forum expects many products to include WiFi/WiMAX and when the product is indoors, it can switch to a WiFi or a wireline backhaul connection.

Spectrum Questions

What frequencies does WiMAX technology operate on?

The WiMAX Forum operates in 2.3 – 2.7, 3.4 - 3.7 GHz bands. For mobile applications, initial profiles have been developed for 2.3, 2.5, and 3.5 GHz. These are to address the current market demands. Many industrial applications operate in varying frequencies outside of commercial frequencies, e.g.. AeroMACS operates in 5095MHz - 5150MHz / 5000MHz – 5030MHz bands, in 5MHz channels.

IEEE 802.16 Questions

What is the 802.16m standard?

802.16m is the next generation standard beyond 802.16e-2005 and seeks to embellish on the capabilities demonstrated on the 802.16e-2005 standard. The following advantages are evident in the standards: 
• Increased Coverage and Spectral Efficiency

• Increased Capacity for Data and VoIP

• Lower Latency and QoS Enhancements

• Interworking with other Wireless Networks

• Power Conservation

• Other Advanced Features and Supported Services

What is the WiMAX Advanced standard?

WiMAX Advanced is an extension to the WiMAX roadmap, which leverages WiMAX’s all-IP broadband data network capabilities to enable WiMAX operators to access a broader ecosystem of devices and radio access technologies to more easily operate within a multi radio access network environment. WiMAX Advanced will allow WiMAX operators flexibility to support additional broadband wireless access technologies and devices beyond WiMAX Release 1 and Release 2.0. Debates around the confluence of LTE and WiMAX may be embedded in future WiMAX Advanced protocols.

Technical Questions

What is the difference between High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and WiMAX technology?

WiMAX technology performs at about 2.5 times the speed of HSDPA platforms (depending on equipment and operating conditions). HSDPA cannibalizes voice spectrum bandwidth to supply data services, which can affect call quality and availability. WiMAX technology is designed to supply data bandwidth only, increasing the bandwidth without compromising voice service quality since voice services are not operating on WiMAX bandwidth.

What is orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM)?

OFDM is a digital encoding and modulation technology. It has been used successfully in wire-line access applications, such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modems and cable modems as well as WiFi. Products from WiMAX Forum member companies are using OFDM-based 802.16 systems to overcome the challenges of NLoS propagation.
OFDM achieves high data rate and efficiency by using multiple overlapping carrier signals instead of just one. All future technologies for 4G will be based upon OFDM technology.
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is enhanced OFDM and used in Mobile WiMAX technology and the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard, and it is the foundation for the next-generations of mobile broadband to come. It is a multi-user version of Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM). The difference between the two technologies is that OFDMA assigns subsets of sub-carriers to individual users allowing simultaneous low data rate transmission from several users.
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