Fixed WiMAX and Mobile WiMAX Initial System Profiles

To accelerate WiMAX adoption in real world networks, the WiMAX Forum creates WiMAX system profiles. WiMAX system profiles refer to a set of parameters on which a WiMAX network will operate. They include frequency band, channel bandwidth, and duplexing scheme. The profiles do not cover all possible operational parameters as stated in the IEEE 802.16 standards because the WiMAX Forum prioritizes those with wide support from the industry (mainly due to advantageous propagation characteristics) and those in harmony with various frequency regulations across regions and countries. Consequently, additional system profiles may be added over time based on market demand and regulation changes.

The first release of Fixed WiMAX profiles has been published by the WiMAX Forum. They are listed in the following table.

Frequency band (MHz) Channelization (MHz) Duplexing
3400 - 3600 3.5 TDD
3400 - 3600 7.0 TDD
3400 - 3600 3.5 FDD
3400 - 3600 7.0 FDD
5725 - 5850 10 TDD

Table. Fixed WiMAX initial profiles (source: WiMAX Forum)

The licensed 3.5 GHz band (3400 - 3600 MHz) is the most globally harmonized band for Fixed WiMAX. However, several countries in which the 3.5 GHz band has been assigned for other services will most likely propose other frequencies as additional profiles. On the other hand, in the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band the use of frequencies should be coordinated with other users of the band. Operators of an unlicensed spectrum in the 5.8 GHz band might have to install a DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) system. Such system is able to vacate the band when it detects the presence of the primary user of the band.

For Mobile WiMAX deployment, frequency selection will affect the quality and cost of the network. The lower frequency bands are generally of preference because they offer propagation advantage, i.e. lower attenuation and longer reach which leads to smaller number of cells required to provide a mobility coverage. However, lower bands are not always available. For example, the most preferred bands of many would-be Mobile WiMAX operators are between 1.9 GHz and 2.1 GHz, but those bands have been assigned to 3G operators. There is also a growing interest in 700 - 800 MHz bands, traditionally used by analog TV broadcast. But it is still unclear when these bands will be completely vacated.

Release-1 of Mobile WiMAX profiles has been published, as in the following table:

  Frequency band (GHz)
Channelization (MHz) FFT Size 2.3 - 2.4 2.305-2.32 2.345-2.36 2.496-2.69 3.3 - 3.4 3.4-3.8
7.0 1024         TDD TDD
8.75 1024 TDD          

Table. Mobile WiMAX Release-1 System Profiles (source: WiMAX Forum)
For 7 and 8.75 MHz channel bandwidths, sampling factor -instead of FFT size- made variable.

The availability of spectrum in a certain band doesn't automatically mean a green light for either Fixed WiMAX or Mobile WiMAX implementation. WiMAX operators should examine carefully the intended use of each band, whether for fixed only application, fixed and nomadic, portable and mobile, and so on. Also whether the band can be used for both indoor and outdoor, indoor only or outdoor only.