Connectivity IQ      

Internet Access Guide : WiMAX

Fixed and Mobile WiMAX CPE
Picture: Fixed and Mobile WiMAX CPE
Outdoor CPE, indoor CPE, and PC card.

WiMAX is a versatile wireless MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) access technology that can address diverse applications. Fixed WiMAX most notably will become an alternative for DSL or cable broadband access. That's why sometimes WiMAX is called Wireless DSL. For that kind of application, user will need outdoor or indoor CPE which consists of antenna, RF interface, modem, and various interfaces for connecting user devices. CPE with roof-mounted or wall-mounted outdoor antenna offers the best performance of all, but in many cases its installation requires a technician and maybe a truckroll.

High end Fixed WiMAX CPEs integrate several functions in one box which is ready for home or small office networking and Internet connection sharing. The kinds of interfaces for connecting computers and other types of user devices are RJ-45 (Ethernet/Fast Ethernet), RJ-11 (POTS), RJ-11 with integrated VoIP adapter, router, LAN switch, and even Wi-Fi access point.

WiMAX Point-To-Point (PTP) backhaul, connecting a Wi-Fi hotspot to the Internet
Picture: WiMAX Point-To-Point (PTP) backhaul
In point-to-point application, WiMAX serves as a big pipe
that streams Wi-Fi hotspot traffic to/from the Internet.

Fixed WiMAX also finds its application as backhaul (high speed connection to the Central Office or ISP's Point of Presence) for Wi-Fi hotspots, cellular base stations connection to base station controller, and backbone for proprietary networks spanning hard-to-wire geographical areas. A more interesting application of Fixed WiMAX is as wireless access in a hotzone or metro zone, that's the kind of hotspot but covers larger area (very often city-wide). In this particular case, WiMAX can be viewed as a competitor to Wi-Fi because it could replace Wi-Fi altogether. Nonetheless, in the near future both technologies will work together in a complementary manner. More details on this page.

Meanwhile, Mobile WiMAX will bring broadband access experience to stationary as well as walking users and those traveling at vehicular speed (up to about 120 km/hour) with devices such as laptop, PDA, and smart phone. At a glance, this is like a typical application of 3G. But Mobile WiMAX introduces several advantages in that it has higher spectral efficiency, better support for NLOS technologies, flexible and dynamic QoS, and corporate-grade security, thanks to the OFDM/OFDMA PHY and the advanced MAC design. So instead, in terms of services Mobile WiMAX is better compared with DSL with the bonus of mobility. Expect these kinds of services over Mobile WiMAX: music/video streaming, live TV broadcast, voice/video chatting, Internet multiplayer game, large file download/upload from/to the Internet, remote access to office LAN via VPN. Mobile WiMAX vision as a Personal Broadband is to make broadband available everywhere (i.e. at home, in the office, on the street, on car, on train, on vessel).

Back Next