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Internet Access Guide : WiMAX

WiMAX Internet access
Picture: WiMAX vision
WiMAX provides broadband Internet connection wirelessly,
alternative backhaul for Wi-Fi hotspots, and
T1/E1 lines to business subscribers.

The emergence of WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) as a broadband wireless access (BWA) technology adds another alternative for users to access broadband services, specifically high speed Internet (HSI). WiMAX has the capability to deliver triple play services, i.e. voice, video and data over microwave RF (Radio Frequency) spectrum to stationary or moving users making broadband available anywhere. That is what leads WiMAX being touted as a Personal Broadband technology. Above all, the fact that WiMAX is an international standard is the prime advantage of WiMAX over previous BWA systems such as LMDS and MMDS which experienced limited adoption and deployment.

There are two flavors of WiMAX, i.e. Fixed WiMAX and Mobile WiMAX. Fixed WiMAX is developed based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard and is optimized for fixed and nomadic applications in LOS and NLOS environments. Mobile WiMAX is based on the IEEE 802.16e standard and targeted primarily for portable and mobile applications in NLOS environment. However, Mobile WiMAX systems also can provide fixed and nomadic access. Mobile WiMAX incorporates additional features crucial to mobile applications: handoff, flexible power management (sleep mode and idle mode), channel bandwidth scalability (SOFDMA), fractional frequency reuse, and better NLOS performance and indoor penetration.

The WiMAX Forum, the organization that promotes WiMAX interoperability between vendors, develops WiMAX system profiles based on the IEEE 802.16 standards harmonized with industry trends, market demands, and international regulations. Because the 802.16 standard only defines physical layer (PHY) and MAC sublayer air interface specifications, the WiMAX Forum also creates guidelines for an end-to-end WiMAX network architecture, roaming, and integration with different networks (such as Wi-Fi and 3G), taking a large part from IETF Internet Protocol (IP) - related RFCs, other relevant IEEE standards, DOCSIS-based security protocols, and 3GPP's IMS fixed mobile convergence concept.

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