IEEE 802.16 – The Origin of WiMax

In 1999, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Board established the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Wireless Standards (also known as IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Committee), which aims to prepare formal specifications for the deployment of Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (WMAN) around the world. This family of standards is officially named WirelessMAN, but was later changed to Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) by an industry group called the WiMax Forum, with a mission to certify and promote interoperability and compatibility of wireless products.

It was on December of 2001 when the first 802.16 standard was approved for point to multipoint broadband wireless transmission in the 10 to 66 GHz band. There were a lot of amendments made to this standard, which include these two: 802.16 – 2004 (also called as Fixed WiMax) and 802.16e – 2005 (also known as Mobile WiMax). Now what are differences between these two?

Fixed WiMax provides point to point and point to multi-point solutions. It supports fixed broadband wireless access over lower frequency and non-“line of sight” wireless connection from a base station to a subscriber station. Such service is expected to deliver 40 Mbps for fixed and portable access applications.

On the other hand, Mobile WiMax takes a fixed application a step further to allow any telecommunication to go mobile. Though considered as more complex, this enables handsets, data devices and mobile phones on a much larger scale. Such technology must support a wireless connection from a base station to another while the subscriber is moving, without any interruption. This standard was completed in December of 2005.

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