services, content, and new mobile devices. (Intel, Centino, 2006) WiMAX is an interesting study in technology development, standardization and spin control. The idea for WiMAX came about in the wake of the telecom bubble, when generating hype about what technologies could do was anathema. WiMAX is also — by name as well as by function and association — a cousin of Wi-Fi, which hasn’t exactly become firmly ensconced as an indispensable technology tool in the telecom service provider quiver.
When Wi-Fi’s new maxed-out cousin came onto the scene, it already had that (perceived) strike against it. (Meyers, 2005) Wimax is a wireless broadband technology as an alternative to DSL and cable modems. They also have Mobile WiMAX will be a complement to cellular air interfaces, with the possibility of roaming between mobile WiMAX networks and a UMTS or EV-DO network. (Smith, 2006 Smart antennas, are on the road map of every major standard not just WiMAX, including those from the 3GPP (WCDMA) and 3GPP2 (CDMA) and the emerging 802. 20 standard.
Existing mobile carriers are unlikely to deploy intelligent antennas with a new air interface initially for coverage or capacity since these carriers already possess substantial tower assets and existing mobile carriers generally scale capacity on new services and/or air interfaces gradually to meet initial and limited demand for those services. OFDMA is also on the road map of virtually every major standard, including those mentioned above. 3GPP2, perhaps through the standardization of FLASH-OFDM, stands to be the first group to offer a mobile, deployment ready version of OFDMA. 3GPP will follow and 802.
20 could ratify an OFDMA standard by late 2006. The first truly open mobile standard (802. 16e). It is governed by the IEEE’s fair licensing practices and participation in the group is open and democratic compared to other groups. This is in fact revolutionary as 3GPP and 3GPP2 are ultimately consortiums and its implications are wide. This open process should lead to greater innovation and hence a better performance when moving forward and also potentially lower intellectual property licensing fees and provide for a quicker rate of change compared to that of existing mobile technologies.
A lack of history within the mobile industry is also an advantage for WiMAX vendors. WiMAX is also the first major mobile standard to offer all IP as a standard feature set. By putting under IP it offers cost advantages, the ability to offer multiple services over a single platform, reductions in operating and capital expenditures, rapid application development and often a competitive edge. (Fuertes, 2005) Disadvantage of Wimax OFDMA spectral efficiency in a wide area, multi-cellular, mobile environment, remain unproven regarding the implementation which WiMAX purveyors and most others will use.
The advantage may exist from use of the air interface but the level of improvement, especially in a challenging mobile environment, may not be as great as many are expecting. Likewise, performance may vary substantially according to implementation and performance of the MAC level, which governs how the radio spectrum is employed and which is rarely considered in RF simulations. Ultimately more testing is required now that 802. 16e has been ratified and vendors are working on implementing the standard. (Fuertes, 2005)