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Mobile WiMAX Enhancements Approved by Industry Vendors

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The WiMAX Forum announced that a group of WiMAX equipment manufacturers, service providers and chip companies have reached a milestone in advancing the speed of data and the efficiency of broadband wireless networks based on the 802.16e Mobile WiMAX standard at the WiMAX Forum Global Congress in Amsterdam this week.

Technical experts from Alvarion, Beceem, Clearwire, Fujitsu, GCT Semiconductor, Hitachi, Huawei, Intel, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sequans, UQ and ZTE have created a proposal on enhancements to the IEEE 802.16e mobile WiMAX standard for submission into the next WiMAX Forum certification release. This proposal documents how the performance enhancements are to be implemented in future WiMAX products in a way that further ensures their interoperability and broad commercial availability.

"On average, our mobile 4G customers are consuming more than seven gigabytes of data every month," said Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology for Clearwire. "We're committed to constant innovation and these enhancements to the 802.16e standard will increase our ability to meet the incredible demand for super fast mobile Internet both in the home and on the go."

The specific enhancements to the 802.16e Mobile WiMAX standard include:

  • Increased data uplink and downlink budgets that improve the performance of WiMAX devices operating at the outer edges of a WiMAX cell or enable the service provider to increase the coverage of a given cell;
  • Up to 70 percent improved spectral efficiency and an associated potential doubling of peak data rates;
  • New technologies for reducing signal interference both within cells and among cell sites;
  • Improved frequency Reuse 1 deployment schemes

These enhancements will be achieved via software-only upgrades for WiMAX enabled client devices. There also are optional provisions to increase performance by way of hardware additions as in the case of adding antennas to base stations.

The WiMAX Forum is targeting validation of equipment that incorporates these new enhancements before the end of this year, which would lead to certified products from multiple vendors starting in 2011.

"Despite the great progress the WiMAX industry has made over the past couple of years with an explosion of new networks and devices, we are not resting on our laurels," said Dr. Fumio Watanabe, CTO of UQ Communications Inc. "UQ has already upgraded almost all devices in its network to be capable of more than 20 Mbps downlink speeds. We are pleased to see the industry banding together to further accelerate the performance and efficiency of today's WiMAX technology networks even as we continue to make plans for the next generation of WiMAX technology - 802.16m."

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